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The  Blessed  Francis  of  Assisi 

IVith  a  Preface  by  FATHER  CUTHBERT,  O.S.F.C. 


28  Orchard  Street,  London,  W. 


TION  of  the  Blessed  Francis  be 
longs  properly  to  polemical  litera 
ture;  it  is  an  argument  taken  from 
the  acts  and  words  of  St.  Francis  in 
favour  of  what  a  party  within  the  Franciscan 
Order  considered  to  be  the  true  Franciscan  life. 
As  is  well  known,  there  arose  in  the  very  early 
days  of  the  Franciscan  Order  a  conflict  of 
opinion  as  to  whether  the  Friars  should  abide 
in  their  primitive  simplicity  and  unconven 
tional  poverty  or,  in  view  of  new  circumstances, 
approximate  more  closely  to  the  institutions  of 
other  religious  orders.     That  was  really  the 
essential  question  at  issue. 

With  the  growth  of  the  Order  and  the  ex 
tension  of  its  activities,  some  development  or 
change  of  organisation  was  needed.  It  was 
manifest  to  the  body  of  the  Friars  that  the 
simple  arrangements  and  idyllic  unconven- 
tionality  of  the  first  days  must  give  place  to  a 
more  formal  organisation,  if  the  vast  number  of 
Friars  shortly  to  be  scattered  throughout 
Europe  were  not  to  degenerate  into  an  un 
disciplined  crowd.  Under  any  circumstances 

there  would  have  been  a  peculiar  difficulty  in 
adapting  the  Franciscan  life  to  the  practical 
needs  of  a  widespread  organisation,  because  of 
the  singular  idealism  in  which  the  Order  had 
its  spiritual  origin.    Amongst  religious  orders 
the  Franciscan  was  unique,  because  the  verj 
reason  of  its  existence  was  to  open  the  way  foi 
the  life  of  perfect  poverty  and  unworldly  sim 
plicity  for  which  so  many  religious  souls  in  thu 
Middle  Ages  were  athirst.  How  to  preserve  thi; 
exalted  idealism,  whilst  recognising  the  practical 
needs  of  a  prosaic  world  in  which  the  Friar 
must  live  and  work,  was  the  great  problen 
which  faced  the  Order  in  the  latter  days  of  St 
Francis.    The  difficulty  was  increased  by  ai 
active  party  amongst  the  Friars  who  sought  t 
remould  the  Order  upon  conventional  lines,  wit 
but  little  regard  to  the  primitive  Francisca 
spirit  and  idealism.     The  contention  whic 
thus  began  in  the  days  of  St.  Francis,  becam 
more  acute  after  his  death;  it  lasted  throughou 
the  thirteenth  century  and  eventually  resulte 
in  the  division  of  the  Order  into  various  "fami 
lies"  with  separate  jurisdictions. 

The  Mirror  of  Perfection  originated  in  th 

controversy  and  voices  the  opposition  towan 

a  line  of  development  which  many  of  the  Fria: 


deemed  inconsistent  with  the  original  purpose 
ind  spirit  of  the  Franciscan  Order.  It  was 
probably  composed  about  the  end  of  the 
thirteenth  century  or  at  the  beginning  of  the 
fourteenth.*  To  speak  of  it  as  a  "Legend"  (in 
he  mediaeval  sense  of  the  word)  would  be  in- 
:orrect :  it  really  is  a  "memorial"  compiled  from 
earlier  documents  and  designed  to  set  forth  what 
he  compiler  and  those  of  like  mind  with  him 
:onsidered  the  true  life  of  a  Friar  Minor  accord- 
ng  to  the  intentions  of  St.  Francis.  Such 
'memorials"  were  not  uncommon  about  the 
jnd  of  the  thirteenth  century.  Their  purpose 
ivas  not  merely  to  protest  against  the  "party  of 
elaxation,"  but  also  to  foster  and  strengthen 
:he  party  of  "strict  observance."  The  Fioretti^ 
n  its  original  Latin  text,  belongs  to  this  category. 
To  understand  the  workmanship  of  these 
memorials,"  we  must  remember  that  amongst 
he  Friars  who  adhered  to  the  primitive  ideal 

*  When  M.  Paul  Sabatier  edited,  in  1898,  the  Latin  text 
vhich  Dr.  Sebastian  Evans  has  here  so  delightfully  trans- 
ated,  he  announced  it  as  "the  most  ancient  legend"  of  St. 

rancis,  "completed  in  1227."  The  learned  editor  was  led 
nto  this  mistake  by  a  copyist's  error,  of  the  sort  very  frequent 
n  mediaeval  manuscripts.  The  Mazarine  MS.  which  M. 

abatier  edited  bears  the  date  MCCXXVIII.  It  is  now 
ertain  that  the  mediaeval  copyist  should  have  written 



the  writings  of  the  companions  of  St.  Francis 
and  their  disciples  were  fondly  treasured;  and 
so,  too,  were  the  oral  traditions  handed  down 
from  generation  to  generation.  These  writings 
and  traditions  were  a  sort  of  charter  of  the 
spiritual  freedom  of  the  observants.  It  was  from 
these  early  writings  and  traditions  that  the 
memorialisls  drew  their  material.  In  the  case 
of  the  Mirror  of  Perfeftion^  there  can  be  little 
doubt  that  the  compiler  had  in  his  hands  a  copy 
of  the  writings  of  Brother  Leo,  the  belovec 
disciple  of  St.  Francis,  and  of  those  companions 
of  the  saint,  who,  as  we  know,  at  the  instance  oJ 
the  Minister-General  Crescentius,  committee 
to  writing  their  remembrances  of  the  acts  anc 
words  of  St.  Francis. 

From  the  writings  of  these  companions 
Thomas  of  Celano  wrote  his  Legenda  Secunda 
Now,  in  the  Mirror  of  Perfection  there  are  8( 
passages  which  correspond  almost  identicall; 
with  the  Legenda  Secunda;  but  a  critical  com 
parison  between  the  two  texts  leaves  hardl; 
any  doubt  that  in  the  Mirror  of  Perfedion  w 
have,  if  not  the  original  text  itself  of  the  writ 
ings  of  the  companions,  at  least  a  more  faithfu 
version  than  that  of  Celano.  Other  passages— 
10  in  number — are  almost  certainly  take.' 

lirecT:  from  the  independent  writings  of  Brother 
,eo,  since  they  are  authenticated  by  Ubertino 
!a  Casale  who  had  in  his  hands  the  rotuli  of 
Brother  Leo.  As  to  the  remainder  of  the  Mirror 
fPerfedion^  it  is  not  improbable  that  here,  too, 
he  compiler  drew  upon  early  documents  pre- 
erved  amongst  the  observant  Friars. 

We  have,  then,  in  this  book  a  genuine  wit- 
less  to  the  life  and  mind  of  St.  Francis;  and  yet 

reading  it  one  must  remember  its  pole- 
nical  purpose  and  make  allowance  for  the 
Dolemical  temperament.  Even  the  companions 
>f  St.  Francis,  when  they  wrote,  were  not  free 
rom  the  polemical  temper.  They  wrote  with 
n  eye  to  certain  abuses  or  departures  from  the 
Drimitive  ideal,  which  they  were  out  to  combat. 
Consequently,  to  know  "the  real  St.  Francis" 
we  have  need  to  supplement  our  knowledge 
rom  other  sources,  and  we  must  put  ourselves 
nto  a  calmer  atmosphere  of  thought  than  that 

the  writers  of  this  book,  before  we  draw 
>ur  ultimate  conclusions. 

But  there  is  one  value  attaching  to  the 
Mirror  of  Perfection  and  its  kindred  "me- 
norials"  which  we  owe  to  the  very  polemical 
mrpose  and  temper  in  which  they  were 
written  and  compiled.  They  bear  witness  «• 

the  spiritual  fervour  with  which  a  large  body 
of  the  Franciscans  cherished  the  original  spirit 
and  idealism  of  their  Order.  We  have  heard  aw 
great  deal  of  "the  early  decline"  of  the  Francis 
cans  from  their  primitive  ideals:  we  hear  less 
from  modern  historians  of  the  long  continu 
ance  of  the  original  idealism  amongst  a  large 
section  of  the  Friars,  from  which  sprang  that 
succession  of  reforms  which  is  the  true  story  of 
"The  Lady  Poverty"  throughout  the  first 
three  centuries  of  the  Franciscan  history. 

The  Mirror  of  Perfettwn^  like  the  Fiorett^ 
finds  its  true  place  in  the  history  of  the  enduring 
endeavour  within  the  Franciscan  Order  to 
maintain  the  primitive  spirit  and  idealism  of 
St.  Francis.  As  a  witness  to  that  endeavour 
it  will  be  cherished  by  all  who  see  in  religion 
a  constant  Struggle  of  the  spirit  against  thei 
seductive  "prudence  of  the  flesh." 



Saint  Francis  or  Assist 


L— How  the  Blessed  THE  Blessed  Fran- 
Francis  made  answer  unto  cjs  mac]e  three  Rules, 
the  ministers  that  would  to  wit  the  one  that 
not  be  bound  to  the  ol>  p  Innocent  did 

servance  of  the  Rule  that  r  r  i  • 

confirm  unto  him 
he  made*  .   .  ^ 

without     a    Bull; 

afterward  he  made  another,  briefer,  and  this 
was  lost ;  afterward  the  one  that  Pope 
Honorius  did  confirm  with  a  Bull,  out  of 
the  which  Rule  were  many  things  taken 
out  by  the  ministers  against  the  will  of 
the  Blessed  Francis.  But  after  the  second 
Rule  that  the  Blessed  Francis  made  was 
lost,  he  went  up  into  a  certain  mountain  with 
brother  Leo  of  Assisi  and  brother  Bonyzo 
of  Bologna  that  he  might  make  another  Rule 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  which  by  Christ's  teaching  he  made  be 
written.  But  the  more  part  of  the  ministers 
assembling  them  together  unto  brother  Elias 
that  was  vicar  of  the  Blessed  Francis  said 
unto  him  :  "  We  have  heard  that  this  brother 
Francis  maketh  a  new  Rule,  but  we  be  feared 
lest  he  should  make  it  too  harsh,  in  such  sort 
that  we  cannot  observe  it.  Wherefore  we 
will  that  thou  go  unto  him  and  tell  him  that 
we  will  not  be  bound  unto  that  Rule.  Let 
him  make  it  for  himself  and  not  for  us." 

Unto  whom  brother  Elias  made  answer  that 
he  would  not  go  without  them,  whereupon 
they  all  of  them  did  go  together.  And  when 
brother  Elias  was  nigh  the  place  where  the 
Blessed  Francis  was  standing,  brother  Elias 
called  unto  him.  Who  making  answer  and 
beholding  the  ministers  aforesaid,  the  Blessed 
Francis  said  :  "  What  would  these  brethren  ? " 
And  saith  brother  Elias  :  "  They  be  ministers 
that  have  heard  how  thou  makest  a  new  Rule, 
and  being  afeard  lest  thou  make  it  too  harsh,  do 
say  and  protest  that  they  will  not  be  bound 
thereunto.  Make  it  for  thyself  and  not  for 
them."  Thereupon  the  Blessed  Francis  did 
turn  his  face  towards  Heaven,  and  spake  unto 
Christ  on  this  wise  :  "  Lord,  said  I  not  well 
when  I  told  Thee  they  would  not  believe 
me  ?  "  Then  all  did  hear  the  voice  of  Christ 
that  made  answer  in  the  air  :  "  Francis, 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

nought  is  there  of  thine  own  in  the  Rule,  but 
whatsoever  is  therein  is  all  Mine  own,  and 
My  will  it  is  that  thus  shall  the  Rule  be 
observed  to  the  letter,  to  the  letter,  to  the 
letter,  without  gloss,  without  gloss,  without 
gloss  !  "  He  added  moreover  :  "  How  much 
the  weakness  of  men  can  do  I  know,  and  what 
right  good  will  have  I  to  help  them.  Let 
them  therefore  that  are  unwilling  to  keep  it 
depart  from  out  the  Order ! "  Then  the 
Blessed  Francis  turned  him  towards  those 
brethren  and  said  unto  them :  "  Ye  have 
heard  !  Ye  have  heard  !  Will  ye  that  I  should 
make  you  again  be  spoken  unto  ?  "  Then 
the  ministers,  rebuking  themselves,  went  away 
confounded  and  adread. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

THE     SECOND      PART,     OF    THE 

II.— And    first,    in    what       BROTHER      RlCHER 
wise  the  Blessed  Francis      of  the  March,  noble 
declared  the  will  and  in-      of  }ineage  and  noble 
tention  which  he  had  from       ,          hig     holiness 
the  beginning  to  the  end         ^  he     El^td 

as  regards  the  observance      i;         .    ..  .  . 
of  poverty.  Francis  did  love  with 

great    attection,    on 

a  certain  day  visited  the  Blessed  Francis  in 
the  Bishop's  palace  of  Assisi,  and  among  other 
things  whereof  he  spake  with  him  as  concern 
ing  the  state  of  the  Religion  and  the  observance 
of  the  Rule,  he  made  question  specially  of  this: 
<c  Tell  me,  Father,  the  intention  that  thou 
hadst  from  the  beginning  when  thou  didst 
begin  to  have  brethren,  and  the  intention  that 
thou  now  hast  and  lookest  to  have  even  unto 
the  day  of  thy  death,  so  as  that  I  may  be  able 
to  bear  witness  to  thy  intention  and  to  thy 
first  will  and  thy  last  ;  to  wit,  whether  we 
clergy-brethren  that  have  so  many  books  can 
in  truth  have  them,  albeit  we  say  that  they  be 
the  books  of  the  Religion  ?  "  The  Bless£d 
Francis  made  answer  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  I 
say  unto  thee  that  this  was  and  is  my  first 
intention  and  my  last  will,  if  only  the  brethren 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

would  have  believed  me,  that  no  brother  ought 
to  have  anything  save  his  habit  as  our  Rule 
alloweth,  with  girdle  and  hosen." 

But  and  if  any  brother  may  be  minded  to 
say  :  "  Why,  then,  did  not  the  Blessed  Francis 
in  his  own  time  make  his  Rule  and  the  poverty 
thereby  enjoined  to  be  so  strictly  observed  by 
the  brethren  as  he  said  unto  brother  Richer,  nor 
commanded  it  thus  to  be  observed  ?  "  we  that 
were  with  him  make  answer  unto  this  accord 
ing  as  we  have  heard  from  his  own  mouth, 
inasmuch  as  he  himself  said  these  and  many 
other  things  to  the  brethren,  and  even  made 
many  things  be  written  in  the  Rule,  the 
which,  with  earnest  prayer  and  meditation,  he 
besought  of  the  Lord  as  being  useful  to  the 
Religion,  affirming  the  same  to  be  altogether 
according  to  the  will  of  God  ;  natheless,  after 
that  he  showed  them  unto  the  brethren,  they 
seemed  unto  them  heavy  and  not  to  be  borne, 
seeing  that  they  knew  not  what  things  should 
come  to  pass  in  the  Religion  after  his  death. 
And  for  that  he  was  sore  afeared  of  scandal, 
both  as  concerning  himself  as  well  as  the 
brethren,  he  was  not  minded  to  contend  with 
them,  but  did  unwillingly  condescend  unto 
their  wishes,  and  did  excuse  himself  thereof 
before  the  Lord. 

But  that  the  word  which  the  Lord  did  put 
into  his  mouth  for  the  benefit  of  the  brethren 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

might  not  return  unto  Him  empty,  he  willed 
to  fulfil  the  same  in  himself,  that  he  might 
thereby  earn  his  wages  of  the  Lord,  and  at 
the  end  his  spirit  did  herein  find  rest  and 

IIL— How  he  made  Now,  on  a  time, 
answer  to  a  minister  that  when  the  Blessed 
would  fain  have  books  by  Francis  had  come 
his  licence,  and  how  the  back  from  the  ts 
ministers  without  his  fe  ,  cer_ 

knowledge    made    the  /          .     .'  ,.  , 

clause  concerning  the  pro-  tain  minister  did 
hibition  of  the  Gospel  be  nold  talk  wlth  him 
removed  from  the  Rule.  as  concerning  the 

clause    of    poverty, 

wishing  to  know  his  will  and  understanding 
thereupon,  and  the  more  for  that  a  certain 
clause  was  at  that  time  written  in  the  Rule  as 
concerning  the  prohibitions  of  the  Holy  Gospel, 
to  wit :  "Take  nothing  for  your  journey,  neither 
staves  nor  scrip,  neither  bread,  neither  money, 
neither  have  two  coats  apiece."  And  the 
Blessed  Francis  made  answer  :  "  I  understand 
it  thus,  that  the  brethren  ought  to  have  nothing 
save  their  garments  with  a  cord  and  hosen  as 
the  Rule  saith,  and  if  so  be  they  are  com 
pelled  by  necessity,  they  may  wear  shoon." 

And  the  minister  said  unto  him  :  "  What 
shall  I  do,  that  have  so  many  books  as  that 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

they  be  worth  more  than  forty  pound  ?  "  But 
this  he  said  for  that  he  was  minded  to  have 
them  with  a  clear  conscience,  inasmuch  as  it 
went  against  his  conscience  to  have  so  many 
books  knowing  how  straitly  the  Blessed 
Francis  did  understand  the  clause  of  poverty. 
And  the  Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  him  :  "  I 
will  not,  nor  I  ought  not,  nor  1  cannot  go 
against  my  conscience  and  the  fulfilment  of 
the  Holy  Scripture  that  we  have  professed." 
And  when  he  heard  this  the  minister  was 
sorrowful.  But  the  Blessed  Francis  seeing 
him  thus  troubled,  with  much  fervency  of 
spirit  spake  unto  him  in  the  person  of  all  the 
brethren  :  "  Ye  would  fain  appear  before  men 
as  brethren  Minor  and  be  called  observants 
of  the  Holy  Gospel,  but  in  your  works  would 
ye  fain  have  treasure-chests  !  " 

Natheless,  albeit  the  ministers  knew  that 
according  to  the  Rule,  the  brethren  were 
held  to  the  observance  of  the  Holy  Gospel, 
yet  nevertheless  did  they  make  be  removed 
from  the  Rule  that  clause  :  "  Take  nothing 
for  your  journey,"  and  the  rest,  believing  that 
thereby  they  should  not  be  held  to  observe  the 
fulfilment  of  the  Gospel.  Wherefore,  when 
the  Blessed  Francis  by  the  Holy  Spirit  had 
knowledge  thereof,  he  spake  in  the  presence 
of  certain  of  the  brethren,  saying  :  "  The 
brethren-ministers  think  to  deceive  the  Lord 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  me,  yea,  albeit  they  know  that  all  the 
brethren  be  bound  to  observe  the  fulfilment 
of  the  Holy  Gospel.  It  is  my  will  that  it  be 
written  both  at  the  beginning  and  at  the  end 
of  the  Rule  that  the  brethren  are  bound  firmly 
to  observe  the  Holy  Gospel  of  Our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ ;  and  that  the  brethren  may  be 
evermore  without  excuse  from  such  time  as  I 
have  announced  unto  them  and  do  announce 
those  things  that  for  my  salvation  and  theirs 
the  Lord  hath  put  into  my  mouth,  it  is  my 
will  that  they  do  show  forth  those  things  in 
their  works  before  God,  and  by  His  help  do 
observe  them  for  ever."  Hence  was  it  that  he 
himself  did  observe  all  the  Holy  Gospel  to  the 
letter  from  the  very  outset  what  time  he  began 
to  have  brethren  even  unto  the  day  of  his 

IV.— Of  the  novice  that  AT  another  time, 
would  fain  have  a  psalter  moreover,  a  cer- 
by  his  licence.  tain  brother^  a 

novice  that  knew  how  to  read  a  psalter,  albeit 
not  very  well,  did  nevertheless  obtain  from  the 
Minister-General  a  licence  to  have  one  ;  yet, 
for  that  he  heard  how  the  Blessed  Francis  was 
minded  that  his  brethren  should  not  be  desirous 
of  knowledge  and  books,  he  was  not  content  to 
have  it  without  the  leave  of  the  Blessed  Francis. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

What  time,  therefore,  the  Blessed  Francis 
was  come  to  the  place  where  that  novice  was, 
the  novice  said  :  "  Father,  a  great  solace  would 
it  be  to  me  to  have  a  psalter,  but  albeit  the 
General  hath  allowed  it  unto  me,  I  would  fain 
have  it  with  thy  knowledge  and  approval." 
Unto  whom  the  Blessed  Francis  made  answer  : 
"Charles  the  Emperor,  Roland  and  Oliver, 
and  all  the  paladins  and  puissant  men  that 
were  mighty  in  war,  pursuing  the  paynims 
with  sore  sweat  and  travail  even  to  the ' 
death,  did  achieve  a  victory  over  them  worthy 
of  all  remembrance,  and  at  the  last  did  them 
selves  die  in  battle,  holy  martyrs  for  the  faith 
of  Christ  j  yet  now  be  there  many  that  would 
fain  receive  honour  and  the  praise  of  men  for 
only  telling  the  tale  of  the  deeds  they  did.  In 
like  manner,  even  amongst  ourselves  many 
there  be  that  are  fain  to  receive  praise  and 
honour  only  by  rehearsing  and  preaching  the 
works  that  the  saints  did  themselves  achieve  ;  " 
as  who  should  say :  "  Pay  not  heed  unto 
books  and  knowledge,  but  unto  godly  works, 
for  knowledge  puffeth  up  but  charity  edifieth." 
But  after  some  days,  when  the  Blessed  Francis 
was  sitting  at  the  fire,  the  same  novice  did 
again  speak  to  him  about  the  psalter.  And 
the  Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  him  :  "  After 
that  thou  shalt  have  had  the  psalter,  thou  wilt 
be  covetous  and  desire  to  have  a  breviary  also. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

And  after  that  thou  hast  gotten  a  breviary, 
thou  wilt  sit  in  a  chair  like  a  great  prelate  and 
wilt  say  unto  thy  brother,  'Fetch  me  the 
breviary  !  ' " 

And  while  he  spake  thus  the  Blessed  Francis 
with  great  fervency  of  spirit  did  take  of  the 
ashes  and  set  upon  his  own  head,  and  drawing 
his  hand  in  a  compass  over  his  head  as  he  that 
should  wash  his  head,  said  :  "  I  a  breviary  !  I  a 
breviary  !  "  And  thus  many  times  did  he  repeat 
the  same,  drawing  his  hand  over  his  head. 
And  that  brother  was  amazed  and  ashamed. 
Afterwards  the  Blessed  Francis  said  unto 
him :  "  Brother,  I  in  likewise  have  been 
tempted  to  have  books,  but  whilst  I  still  knew 
not  the  will  of  God  therein,  I  took  a  book 
wherein  were  written  the  Lord's  Gospels,  and 
I  prayed  unto  the  Lord  that  in  the  first  open 
ing  of  the  book,  He  would  show  me  of  this 
matter.  And  when  I  had  made  an  end  of 
praying,  on  the  first  opening  of  the  book  I 
lighted  on  that  Word  of  the  Holy  Gospel : 
'  Unto  you  it  is  given  to  know  the  mysteries 
of  the  Kingdom  of  God,  but  unto  others  in 
parables.' "  And  he  saith :  "  So  many  be 
there  that  do  willingly  raise  them  up  unto 
knowledge,  that  blessed  shall  he  be  that  shall 
make  him  barren  for  the  love  of  our  Lord 

But  after  many  months  had  gone  by,  when 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  Blessed  Francis  was  at  the  place  of  S. 
Mary  of  the  Little  Portion  nigh  the  cell 
beyond  the  house  in  the  street,  the  foresaid 
brother  did  again  speak  to  him  about  the 
psalter.  To  whom  the  Blessed  Francis  said  : 
"  Go  and  do  herein  as  thy  minister  shall  tell 
thee."  And  when  he  heard  this,  the  brother 
began  to  return  by  the  way  that  he  had  come. 
But  the  Blessed  Francis  bided  in  the  way, 
and  began  to  think  upon  that  which  he  had 
said  to  the  brother,  and  straightway  called  out 
after  him  saying  :  "  Wait  for  me,  brother, 
wait  !  "  And  he  went  up  to  him,  and  saith 
unto  him  :  "  Turn  back  with  me,  brother, 
and  show  me  the  place  where  I  said  unto  thee 
that  thou  shouldst  do  as  thy  minister  should 
tell  thee  in  the  matter  of  the  psalter."  When 
therefore  they  had  come  as  far  as  the  place, 
the  Blessed  Francis  bent  his  knee  before  that 
brother  and  said  :  "  Mine  is  the  fault,  brother, 
mine  is  the  fault  !  for  whosoever  will  be 
brother  Minor  ought  to  have  nothing  save 
his  habit  as  the  Rule  alloweth  him  and  a  cord 
and  hosen,  and  shoon  for  them  that  are  com 
pelled  of  manifest  necessity."  Hence  it  came 
to  pass  that  when  sundry  of  the  brethren 
came  to  him  to  take  counsel  on  matters  of 
this  kind,  it  was  on  this  wise  that  he  made 
answer  unto  them.  And  therefore  did  he 
say  ofttimes  :  "  As  much  knowledge  hath  a 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

man  as  he  doth  work,  and  a  Religious  only 
preacheth  well  insomuch  as  he  worketh  well, 
for  the  doer  is  known  by  his  fruits." 

V.— Of  maintaining  THE  most  Blessed 
poverty  in  books,  beds,  Father  taught  the 
buildings  and  appliances.  brethren  as  for 

books,  to  look  to  their  inwardness,  not  to 
their  price  ;  to  the  edification  to  be  found 
therein,  not  to  their  outward  adornments.  He 
willed  that  such  as  they  had  should  be  few  and 
in  common,  and  those  such  as  were  suitable  to 
the  necessities  of  the  brethren.  In  beds  and 
beddings  a  plentiful  poverty  did  so  abound  that" 
he  which  had  a  tattered  rag  over  his  straw  did 
hold  the  same  for  a  feather-bed. 

He  taught  his  brethren,  moreover,  to  make 
their  dwellings  after  a  sorry  sort,  and  would 
that  their  cabins  should  be  of  wood,  not  stone, 
and  these  constructed  and  builded  after  a  mean 
pattern  ;  and  not  only  did  he  hate  arrogance 
in  their  houses,  but  he  did  exceedingly  abhor 
much  or  choice  furnishing  thereof.  He  had 
no  liking  for  aught  in  tables  or  vessels  that 
was  of  worldly  seeming,  and  whereby  remem 
brance  of  the  world  might  be  recalled  ;  so  as 
that  all  things  might  point  toward  poverty  as 
their  end  and  intent,  and  all  things  chant 
songs  of  pilgrimage  and  exile. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

VI.— How    he   made    ail  Now  when  he  was 

the  brethren  go  out  of  a  passing    through 

certain  house  that  was  said  Bologna,    he    heard 

to  belong  to  the  brethren.  that  ^  house  of  ^Q 

brethren  there  had  been  newly  builded.  Who 
straightway,  as  soon  as  he  heard  how  that  house 
was  said  to  be  the  house  of  the  brethren,  turned 
back  on  his  steps  and  went  out  of  the  city,  and 
straitly  commanded  that  all  the  brethren 
should  depart  thereout  in  haste  and  should  in 
nowise  thenceforward  dwell  therein.  Where 
upon  all  the  brethren  went  out  in  suchwise 
that  not  even  the  sick  remained  therein,  but 
were  turned  out  with  the  others,  until  such 
time  as  Ugolino,  Lord  Bishop  of  Ostia  and 
Legate  in  Lombardy,  did  publicly  declare  the 
said  house  to  be  his  own.  And  a  brother  that 
lay  sick  and  was  turned  out  of  the  house  at 
that  time  beareth  witness  to  these  things  and 
did  write  this. 

VIL— How  he  was  fain  to  WHEN  the  time  or 

destroy   a    certain   house  the  General  Chapter 

that  the  folk  of  Assisi  had  drew  nigh  that  was 

made  at  S.  Mary  of  the  hdd    ey  at 

Little  Portion.  g>     Mt,yJ  #     the 

Little  Portion,  the  folk   of  Assisi  consider 
ing  that  the  brethren  day  by  day  did  multiply, 
and  that  all  of  them    every  year   did    there 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

assemble  together,  forasmuch  as  they  had  not 
but  one  small  cell  thatched  with  straw  whereof 
the  walls  were  of  wattle  and  dab,  did  hold 
their  council,  and  within  a  few  days,  in  much 
haste  and  with  the  greatest  devotion  did  make 
there  a  great  house  builded  of  stones  and 
mortar,  without  the  consent  of  the  Blessed 
Francis  and  in  his  absence.  And  when  the 
Blessed  Francis  returned  from  a  certain  pro 
vince  and  came  thither  to  the  Chapter,  he 
marvelled  greatly  of  the  house  that  there  was 
builded,  and  fearing  lest  by  occasion  of  this 
house  that  other  brothers  in  the  places  wherein 
they  sojourned  or  might  thereafter  sojourn 
should  in  like  fashion  cause  great  houses  to  be ' 
made,  and  for  that  he  willed  this  place  should 
be  the  pattern  and  example  of  all  other  places 
of  the  Order,  or  ever  the  Chapter  were  ended, 
he  went  up  on  to  the  roof  of  the  house  and 
bade  the  brethren  go  up  also,  and  along  with 
the  brethren  themselves  did  begin  to  throw 
down  to  the  ground  the  tiles  wherewith  the 
house  was  roofed,  being  minded  to  destroy  the 
same  even  to  the  foundations.  But  certain 
soldiers  of  Assisi  that  were  there  to  guard  the 
place  by  reason  of  the  number  of  burgesses 
that  had  come  together  to  look  on  at  the 
Chapter  of  the  brethren,  seeing  how  the 
Blessed  Francis  with  the  other  brethren  was 
minded  to  batter  the  house  to  pieces,  straight- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

way  went  unto  him  and  said  to  him  :  "Bro 
ther,  this  house  belongeth  to  the  Community 
of  Assisi,  and  we  be  here  on  behalf  of  the 
Community.  Wherefore  we  warn  thee  that 
thou  destroy  not  this  house  which  is  ours." 
Upon  hearing  this,  the  Blessed  Francis  said 
unto  them  :  "  If  so  be,  then,  that  it  is  yours, 
no  will  have  I  to  touch  it."  And  forthwith 
he  and  the  other  brethren  came  down  there 
from.  Wherefore  from  that  time  forward  the 
people  of  the  city  of  Assisi  made  a  by-law  that 
whosoever  should  be  high-bailiff  of  the  city 
should  be  bound  to  make  it  be  repaired.  And 
every  year  for  a  long  time  thereafter  was  this 
statute  observed. 

VIIL— How  he  chided  his  AT  another  time, 

vicar  for  that  he  caused  be  moreover,  the   vicar 

made  there  a  little  house  of  tne  Blessed  Fran- 

for  saying  the  Office,  ds    began    to    make 

build  in  the  same  place  a  small  house 
wherein  the  brethren  might  take  their  rest 
and  say  their  Hours,  for  on  account  of 
the  multitude  of  brethren  that  came  unto 
that  place,  the  brethren  had  not  where  to 
say  the  Office.  For  all  the  brethren  of 
the  Order  did  come  together  in  that  place, 
for  that  none  was  received  into  the  Order  save 
onl  there.  And  when  the  house  was  now 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

already  completed,  the  Blessed  Francis  re 
turned  to  that  place,  and  as  he  was  abiding 
in  his  cell  he  heard  talking  of  labourers  there, 
and  calling  his  companion,  he  asked  what  the 
brethren  were  at  work  upon.  To  whom  the 
companion  related  all  things  as  they  were. 
But  straightway  he  made  his  vicar  be  called, 
and  saith  unto  him:  "Brother,  this  place  is 
the  pattern  and  example  of  the  whole  Reli 
gion,  and  I  would  therefore  that  the  brethren 
of  this  place  should  be  the  first  to  suffer  tribu 
lation  and  discomfort  for  the  love  of  our  Lord 
God,  and  that  the  other  brethren  which  shall 
come  hither  shall  carry  back  the  good  example 
of  poverty  to  their  own  places  ;  whereas  if 
these  should  have  their  comforts  in  full,  those 
others  also  might  take  example  of  building  in 
their  own  places,  saying,  c  In  this  place  of  the 
Blessed  Mary  of  the  Little  Portion  which  is 
the  foremost  place  of  the  Order,  are  such  and 
so  great  buildings  made,  wherefore  may  we 
also  build  the  like  in  our  own  places.' " 

IX,— How  the  Blessed  A  CERTAIN  brother, 
Francis  would  not  stay  in  right  spiritual  and 
a  cell  curiously  wrought,  greatly  familiar  with 
or  if  it  were  said  to  be  his  the  Blessed  Francis 
own,  ,. .  ,  . ' 

did    cause   be    made 

in   the    hermitage   wherein   he    sojourned   a 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

certain    cell,  a  little  distance  away,    wherein 
the    Blessed    Francis    might   stay    and    pray 
whensoever   he   should     come   thither.     But 
when  the  Blessed  Francis  came  to  that  place, 
the   brother  led  him  to  the  cell.     To  whom 
said   the  Blessed  Francis:  "Too  fair  is  this 
cell  !  "  albeit  it  were  only  of  wood,  shapen 
with  adze  and  hatchet.     "If  therefore,  thou 
wouldst    that    I    should    abide   there,   let    be 
made  for  it  a  covering  within    and   without 
of  wattles  and    branches  of  trees."     For  the 
sorrier  seeming  was  house  or   cell,  the   more 
ij  gladly  did  he  sojourn  therein.     Which  when 
the    brother   had    done,  the    Blessed   Francis 
I!  abode  there  several  days.     But  on  a  certain 
day,  when  he   had    gone   out  of  that  cell,  a 
1  certain    brother   went    to    look   thereat,  and 
jj  afterwards    came    to    the    place    where    the 
|j  Blessed  Francis  was.     And  when  the  Blessed 
Francis  saw  him,  he  said  unto  him  :  "  Whence 
comest    thou,    brother  ?  "      And    he    saith, 
"  From  thy  cell."     And  the  Blessed  Francis 
said  unto  him  :  "  For  that  thou  hast  said  it  is 
my    cell,    henceforward    another    shall    stay 
therein  and  not  I."     For  we  that  were  with 
him  have  often  heard  him  saying  that  word  : 
"  Foxes  have  holes  and  the  birds  of  the  air- 
have  nests,   but   the   Son   of  Man  hath  not 
where  to  lay  His  head."     And,  again,  he  would 
say  :  "  When  Our  Lord  withdrew  Him  into 

17  B 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

the  wilderness  and  fasted  forty  days  and  forty 
nights,  He  had  no  cell  nor  house  made  there, 
but   abode   throughout   on    a   stone    of    the 
mountains."      Wherefore    by    His    ensample 
would   he   never   have   house   nor   cell    that 
should  be  called  his  own,  nor  none  such  would 
he  never  have  made  at  all.     If  it  were  that 
at   any  time  he  had   said  to   the   brethren : 
"  Go  and  make  ready  such  or  such  a  cell,"  yet 
was  he  never  minded  thereafter  to  abide  in  it 
on  account  of  that  word  of  the  Holy  Gospel : 
"  Take  no   thought   for   your   life,  what  ye 
shall  eat ;  neither  for  the  body,  what  ye  shall 
put  on."      For  even  about  the  time    of  his 
death  he  made  be  written  in  his  will  that  all  - 
the  cells  and  houses  of  the  brethren  should  be 
of  stud  and  mud  only,  the  better  to  maintain 
poverty  and  humility. 

X.— Of  the  manner  of  ON  a  time  when 
taking  places  in  cities  and  he  was  at  Siena  for 
building  therein  according  the  infirmity  of  his 
to  the  intention  o£  the  Doctor  Bona- 

Blessed  Francis.  v  entura,  that  had 

given  the  brethren  land  whereon  a  place 
was  builded,  said  unto  him  :  "  Father,  how 
seemeth  it  unto  thee  of  this  place  ?  "  ^  And 
the  Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  him  :  "  Wouldst 
thou  that  I  tell  thee  how  the  places  of  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

brethren  ought  to  be  builded  ? "  He  made 
answer  :  "  Yea,  Father."  And  the  Blessed 
Francis  said :  "  When  the  brethren  go  to 
any  city  where  they  have  no  place,  and  find 
any  man  willing  to  give  them  so  much  land, 
as  that  they  may  build  them  a  place  and  have 
therein  a  garden  and  all  things  necessary, 
they  ought  to  consider  first  of  all  how  much 
land  will  be  enow  for  them,  looking  always 
to  the  poverty  and  the  good  ensample  that  in 
all  things  we  are  bound  to  show  forth." 

But  this  he  said,  for  that  he  was  minded 
the  brethren  should  in  no  wise,  neither  in 
houses,  nor  churches,  nor  gardens,  nor  in 
nought  else  whereof  they  had  the  use,  trespass 
beyond  the  bounds  of  poverty,  nor  hold  no 
places  whatsoever  by  right  of  ownership,  but 
should  sojourn  therein  as  pilgrims  and 
strangers  ;  wherefore  he  would  not  that  the 
brethren  should  be  lodged  together  in  the 
places  in  large  numbers,  for  that  it  seemed  to 
him  a  hard  thing  for  poverty  to  be  observed 
in  a  great  multitude.  And  this  was  his 
intention  from  the  beginning  of  his  con 
version,  even  to  the  end,  that  poverty  should 
in  all  things  be  throughly  observed. 

"When,  therefore,  the  brethren  have  con 
sidered  the  land  necessary  for  the  place,  they 
ought  to  go  to  the  Bishop  of  the  city  and  say 
unto  him  :  *  Such  an  one  is  fain  to  give  us  so 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

much  land  for  the  love  of  God  and  for  the 
salvation  of  his  soul,  to  the  end  that  we  may 
build  us  a  place  therein,  wherefore,  first  of 
all,  we  have  recourse  to  you  as  father  and  lord 
of  souls  unto  all  the  flock  committed  unto 
you,  and  of  all  our  brethren  that  shall  sojourn 
in  this  place,  inasmuch  as  we  desire  to  build 
therein  with  God's  blessing  and  yours.'  " 

But  this  he  said  for  that   the   harvest  of 
souls  which  the  brethren  would   fain  garner, 
they  do  the  better  gather  in  through  being  at 
peace  with   the    clergy,   winning    them  over 
even  as  the  people,  rather  than  by  scandalising 
them,  albeit  they  might  thereby  win  over  the 
people.     He   saith,    moreover  :    "  The    Lord 
hath  called  us  unto  the  succour  of  His  faith 
and  of  the  clergy  and  prelates  of  the  Holy 
Roman    Church.      And    therefore     are    we 
bound,  as  far  as  possible,  always  to  love  them 
and  honour  and  reverence  them.     For  we  be 
called  brethren  Minor,  for  that,  as  in  name,  so 
in  ensample,  we  ought  to  be  humble  beyond 
other   men   of  this  world.     And  seeing  that 
from    the    beginning   of  my  conversion  the 
Lord  hath  put  His  word  into  the   mouth  of 
the  Bishop  of  Assisi,  that  he  should  give  me 
counsel,  and  be  of  good  comfort  unto  me  in 
the  service  of  Christ  ;  on  this  account,  and  on 
account  of  many  other  things  excellent  that 
I  do  pay  regard  unto  in  the    Prelates,  I  am 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

fain  to  love  and  venerate,  not  the  Bishops 
alone,  but  the  poorer  clergy  also,  and  to  hold 
them  for  my  lords. 

"Thereafter,  when  they  have  received  a 
blessing  from  the  Bishop,  let  them  go  and 
make  a  great  trench  be  driven  around  the 
compass  of  the  land  they  have  received  for 
building  the  place,  and  thereby  let  them  set  a 
good  hedge  for  a  wall,  as  a  mark  of  holy 
poverty  and  humility.  After  that,  let  them 
make  be  builded  poor  houses  of  mud  and  stud, 
and  sundry  little  cells,  wherein  at  times  the 
brethren  may  pray  and  work  for  greater 
decency  and  for  the  avoiding  of  sloth.  And 
let  them  make  build  little  churches,  for  they 
ought  not  to  have  great  churches  builded, 
neither  for  the  sake  of  preaching  to  the  people 
nor  upon  none  other  occasion,  for  the  humility 
is  the  greater  and  the  ensample  the  better 
when  they  go  to  other  churches  to  preach. 
And  if  at  any  time  prelates  and  clerics,  either 
regular  or  secular,  shall  come  unto  their 
places,  the  sorry  houses,  the  little  cells,  and 
small  churches  will  preach  to  them,  and  more 
will  they  be  edified  by  these  things  than  they 
would  be  by  words."  Moreover,  saith  he, 
"Many  a  time  do  the  brethren  have  great 
buildings  made,  breaking  thereby  our  holy 
poverty,  giving  occasion  of  mischievous 
whispers,  and  setting  a  bad  ensample  unto 

Saint  Francis  of  Asslsi 

many,  whensoever  by  reason  of  the  offer  of  a 
better  or  holier  place,  or  the  object  of  gather 
ing  together  a  greater  congregation  of  folk, 
they  do  leave  their  old  places  and  buildings 
through  covetousness  and  avarice,  and  destroy 
them  to  make  others  great  and  excessive,  so 
that  they  which  did  there  give  alms,  and 
others  that  see  these  things  are  scandalised 
and  troubled  thereat.  For  these  reasons  it  is 
better  for  the  brethren  to  make  their  buildings 
little  and  sorry,  observing  their  profession  and 
giving  a  good  ensample  to  their  neighbours, 
than  for  them  to  act  against  their  promise 
and  give  to  others  an  evil  ensample.  For  if 
it  were  that  the  brethren  should  still  build 
their  houses  of  the  sorriest,  albeit  they  should 
leave  a  sorry  site  when  a  site  more  decent 
were  offered,  the  scandal  would  be  the  less. 

XL— How  the  brethren,  WHEN  the  Blessed 
and  more  notably  they  Francis  made  ordi- 
that  had  authority  and  nance  that  the 
they  that  had  most  of  churches  of  the 
human  learning  were  brethren  should  be 
against  the  Blessed  Fran-  and  their 

cis  as  to    making    the 

places  and  dwelling  places      Bouses  builded  only 

sorry,  of  stud  and  mud  in 

to  ken  of  holy  poverty 

and  humility,  he,  being  fain  to  set  this  pattern 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

first  in  the  place  of  S.  Mary  of  the  Little  Por 
tion,  and  to  have  the  houses  therein  for  the  most 
part  put  together  of  stud  and  mud  so  that  it  might 
be  an  everlasting  memorial  to  all  the  brethren 
present  and  future  for  that  it  was  the  first  and 
chief  place  of  the  whole  Order,  certain  brethren 
were  against  him  in  this,  saying  that  in  certain 
provinces  wood  was  more  costly  than  stone, 
so  that  it  seemed  them  not  good  to  make  the 
houses  of  stud  and  mud.  But  the  Blessed 
Francis  was  not  minded  to  contend  with  them, 
and  the  more  for  that  he  was  nigh  unto  death 
and  sore  sick.  Wherefore  at  that  time  he 
made  be  written  in  his  will :  "  Let  the  breth 
ren  take  heed  that  they  accept  not  for  their 
own  the  churches,  dwelling-places,  and  other 
things  that  may  be  builded  for  them  save  only 
as  holy  poverty  beseemeth,  but  be  lodged 
therein  as  pilgrims  and  strangers."  But  we 
that  were  with  him  when  he  wrote  the  Rule 
and  well-nigh  all  the  rest  of  his  writings  do 
bear  witness  that  he  made  be  written  in  the 
Rule  and  his  other  writings  many  things 
wherein  a  number  of  the  brethren,  and  spe 
cially  those  of  us  that  were  in  authority  and  had 
most  of  human  learning,  were  against  him, 
the  which  would  to-day  be  greatly  useful  and 
necessary  to  the  whole  Religion  ;  yet  natheless, 
for  that  he  sorely  feared  a  scandal,  he  conde 
scended  even  aainst  his  own  will  to  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

of  the  brethren.  Nevertheless  this  speech  was 
often  on  his  lips :  "  Woe  unto  those  brethren 
that  set  them  against  me  in  this  matter  which 
I  know  of  a  certainty  to  be  of  the  will  of 
God  for  the  greater  usefulness  and  need  of  the 
whole  Religion,  albeit  I  unwillingly  conde 
scend  unto  their  will."  Whence  he  did  often 
times  say  unto  us  his  companions :  "  Herein 
is  my  grief  and  my  affliction,  that  in  these 
things  which  with  much  travail  of  prayer  and 
meditation  I  obtain  of  God  through  His 
mercy  for  the  welfare  present  and  future  of 
the  whole  Religion,  and  am  by  Himself  certi 
fied  that  they  be  in  accordance  with  His  will, 
yet  certain  of  the  brethren  on  the  authority  of 
their  own  knowledge  and  false  forethought  do 
go  against  me  and  make  them  void,  saying, 
'Such  and  such  things  are  to  be  kept  and 
observed,  and  such  others  not.' " 

XII.— How  he  held  it  a  THE  Blessed  Fran- 
theft  to  obtain  alms  or  to  ciswas  often  wont  to 
make  use  thereof  beyond  these  words  untQ 
what  is  necessary.  ^  brethren: 

"Never  was  I  a  thief  in  the  matter  of  alms, 
neither  in  obtaining  the  same,  nor  in  making 
use  of  them  beyond  what  was  necessary. 
Always  have  I  received  less  than  I  might 
lest  the  other  needy  ones  should  be  cheated  of 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

their  portion,  for  to  do  the   contrary  would 
have  been  robbery." 

XIIL— How  Christ  said  WHENthe  brethren- 
tmto  him  that  He  would  minister  would  per- 
not  the  brethren  should  suade  hjm  that  he 

'"ould  allow  the 
brethren  to  have 
something  in  common  at  least  so  that  a  multi 
tude  so  great  should  have  that  to  which  they 
might  have  recourse,  the  Blessed  Francis  in 
prayer  did  call  upon  Christ  and  take  counsel 
with  Him  hereupon.  Who  forthwith  made 
answer,  saying :  "  I  will  take  away  all  things 
in  special  and  in  common  ;  seeing  that  as  for 
this  family  always  will  I  be  ready  to  make 
provision,  howsoever  it  may  increase,  and 
evermore  will  I  cherish  it  so  long  as  it  shall 
hope  in  Me." 

XIV.— Of  his  execration  FRANCIS, true  friend 
of  money,  and  in  what  ancj  imitator  of 
wise  he  punished  a  brother  Christ  despising 

perfectly  all    things 

that  are  of  this  world,  did  above  all  execrate 
money,  and  both  by  word  and  ensample  did 
urge  his  brethren  to  flee  therefrom  as  from 
the  devil.  For  this  was  the  policy  given 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

to  the  brethren,  that  money  should  hold  in 
their  affections  no  higher  place  than  dung. 
Now  it  so  befell  one  day  that  a  certain 
layman,  did  enter  into  the  church  of  the 
Blessed  Mary  of  the  Little  Portion  to  pray, 
and  by  way  of  oblation  did  place  a  piece 
of  money  within  the  cross.  When  he 
had  gone  his  way,  a  certain  brother  did 
foolishly  take  the  piece  in  his  hand  and 
throw  it  into  the  locker.  But  when  this  was 
told  to  the  Blessed  Francis,  the  brother, 
seeing  that  he  had  been  caught,  straightway 
betook  him  to  pardon,  and  prostrating  himself 
on  the  ground  did  proffer  him  unto  the 

The  Blessed  Francis  reasoned  with  him 
and  did  chide  him  right  bitterly  for  that  he 
had  touched  the  piece  of  money,  and  com 
manded  him  to  pick  up  the  piece  out  of  the 
locker  with  his  mouth  and  carry  it  beyond 
the  hedge  of  the  place,  and  set  it  with  his 
own  mouth  on  the  dung  of  an  ass.  All  they 
that  did  see  and  hear  the  same  were  sore 
stricken  with  fear,  and  thenceforward  did 
despise  money  the  more  for  that  it  had  been 
made  of  no  more  account  than  the  dung  of  an 
ass,  and  every  day  were  they  encouraged  by 
new  ensamples  to  despise  it  utterly. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XV.— Of  a  voiding  codd*  THIS    man,    endued 

ling,  and  of  the  multiplica-  with  virtue  from  on 

tion    of  habits,   and  of  high,     did     make 

having      patience       in  him  warm  rather 

times  of  need,  from    within      by 

the  divine,  than  from  without  by  the  bodily 
garment.  He  did  detest  that  any  in  the 
Order  should  go  clad  in  threefold  garments, 
or  make  use  of  clothing  more  delicate  than  was 
needful.  For  he  maintained  that  to  make  a 
need  of  that  which  is  a  need  pointed  out  by 
the  will  only,  and  not  by  reason,  is  the  token 
of  a  quenched  spirit.  "When  the  spirit," 
saith  he,  "  is  lukewarm,  and  little  by  little 
cooling  away  from  grace,  it  cannot  be  but 
•that  flesh  and  blood  will  seek  after  the  things 
that  are  their  own."  He  said,  moreover  : 
"  For  what  remaineth  when  the  soul  is  with 
out  spiritual  delights,  but  for  the  flesh  to  turn 
back  to  its  own  delights  ?  Then  the  animal 
appetite  is  pleaded  in  excuse  as  a  point  of 
necessity  ;  then  the  sense  of  the  flesh  doth 
shape  the  conscience. 

"  If  a  true  necessity  lieth  upon  my  brother, 
and  he  forthwith  hasteneth  to  satisfy  the 
same,  what  reward  shall  he  receive  ?  for  an 
opportunity  of  deserving  a  reward  hath  befallen 
him,  but  he  hath  taken  pains  to  prove  that  he 
was  loath  so  to  do.  For  not  to  bear  indi- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

gences  patiently  is  nought  else  but  to  seek 
to  return  into  Egypt." 

Lastly,  he  would  that  the  brethren  on  no 
account  should  have  more  than  two  habits, 
but  these  he  did  allow  to  be  lined  with  pieces 
sewn  on.  Choice  broadcloths,  he  said,  were 
to  be  abhorred,  and  full  bitingly  would  he 
flout  them  that  thwarted  him  herein  ;  and 
that  he  might  spur  such  by  his  own  ensample, 
he  did  always  sew  coarse  sackcloth  upon  his 
habit.  Whence  even  at  his  death  he  bade  his 
burial- habit  be  covered  with  sackcloth.  How- 
beit,  those  brethren  whom  sickness  or  other 
necessity  did  compel,  did  put  on  another  soft 
habit  underneath,  next  the  skin  ;  but  in  such- 
wise  as  that  without-doors  coarseness  and 
meanness  should  be  observed  in  their  outward 
seeming.  For  with  sore  sorrow  was  he  wont 
to  say  :  "  Presently  will  rigour  be  so  greatly 
relaxed,  and  lukewarmness  will  so  far  prevail, 
as  that  the  sons  of  a  father  that  was  a  beggar 
will  not  be  ashamed  even  to  wear  scarlet  cloth, 
with  only  a  change  of  colour." 

XVI—  That  he  would  Now,  when  the 
not  satisfy  his  body  with  Blessed  Francis  was 
aught  whereof  he  thought  sojourning  at  the 
that  other  brethren  were  hermitage  of  S. 
in  want,  -^  i  L  • 

JMeuthenus    over 

against  Rieti,  by  reason  of  the  great  cold  he 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

did  line  his  own  habit  and  the  habit  of  his 
companion  Richer  with  sundry  pieces  of  cloth 
so  that  thereby  his  body  began  to  be  some 
little  comforted,  for  he  never  wore  but  one 
habit,  to  wit,  the  one  he  wore  every  day.  And 
a  little  after,  when  he  was  coming  back  from 
prayer,  with  great  gladness  he  said  to  his 
companion  :  "  Me  it  behoveth  be  the  pattern 
and  example  of  all  the  brethren,  wherefore, 
albeit  that  it  is  necessary  for  my  body  to  have 
my  habit  lined,  yet  it  is  meet  that  I  take 
thought  for  others  my  brethren  unto  whom 
the  same  thing  is  a  necessity,  but  who  haply 
neither  have  it  nor  can  have  it.  Whence 
behoveth  me  consider  them,  so  that  I  may 
suffer  the  necessities  which  they  themselves 
suffer,  so  that,  when  they  see  this  in  me, 
they  may  bear  their  own  with  the  greater 

But  what  and  how  great  were  the  necessities 
that  he  denied  his  body  to  the  intent  that  he 
might  give  a  good  ensample  to  the  brethren, 
and  that  they  might  bear  their  own  needs 
more  willingly,  we  that  were  with  him  can 
never  set  forth  in  words  nor  in  writing.  For 
after  that  the  brethren  began  to  be  multiplied 
he  made  it  his  highest  and  chiefest  study  to 
teach  the  brethren  the  things  that  they  had  to 
do  or  to  avoid  rather  by  his  deeds  than  by  his 

Saint  Francis  oi  Assisi 

XVII.— That  he  was  ONCE  on  a  time, 
ashamed  to  see  any  man  when  he  had  met 
poorer  than  himself,  acertainneedy 

man,  taking  note  of  his  poverty,  he  said 
unto  his  companion  :  "  That  man's  poverty 
doth  imply  great  shame  unto  us,  and  doth 
sorely  rebuke  our  poverty,  for  the  greatest 
shame  is  it  to  me  whensoever  I  find  one 
poorer  than  myself,  seeing  that  I  have  chosen 
holy  poverty  for  my  Lady  and  for  my  spiritual 
and  bodily  riches,  and  this  voice  hath  been 
bruited  abroad  throughout  the  world,  to  wit, 
that  I  have  professed  poverty  before  God  and 
before  men." 

XVHI.-HOW  he  did  WHEN  the  Blessed 
induce  and  teach  the  Francis  began  to 
first  brethren  to  go  forth  haye  brethren,  so 
foralms*  mightily  was  he 

pleased  with  their  conversion, and  that  the  Lord 
had  given  him  so  goodly  acompany,  and  so  greatly 
did  he  love  and  reverence  them,  that  he  did 
not  tell  them  to  go  forth  for  alms.  More 
especially  for  that  it  seemed  unto  him  that 
they  were  ashamed  to  go,  wherefore,  that  he 
might  spare  their  shame,  he  himself  did  every 
day  go  forth  for  alms  alone.  And  when  he 
was  overwearied  with  this  toil,  especially  for 
that  he  had  been  delicately  nurtured  in  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

world,  and  was  feeble  of  bodily  complexion, 
and  had  been  yet  more  enfeebled  by  exceeding 
abstinence  and  affliction,  and  perceiving  that 
he  was  not  able  to  endure  so  heavy  travail 
alone,  and  that  they  had  been  called  to  this 
work,  albeit  they  were  ashamed  to  do  it,  for 
that  as  yet  they  knew  not  fully,  neither  had 
they  discretion  enough  to  say  :  "  We  also  are 
willing  to  go  for  alms."  Wherefore  he  said 
unto  them  :  "  My  dearest  brethren  and  little 
children,  be  ye  not  ashamed  to  go  forth  for 
alms,  for  the  Lord  did  make  Him  poor  in  this 
world  for  us,  and  by  His  ensample  have  we 
made  choice  of  the  truest  poverty.  For  this 
is  our  heritage  that  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  did 
achieve  and  hath  left  unto  us  and  unto  all  that 
fain  would  live  in  holy  poverty  according  to  His 
ensample.  Of  a  truth  I  tell  you  that  many 
of  the  holier  and  nobler  sort  of  this  world  shall 
come  unto  this  congregation,  and  shall  hold  it 
for  high  honour  and  grace  to  go  forth  for  alms. 
Go  ye  forth,  therefore,  in  confidence  and  with  a 
gladsome  heart  for  alms  with  God's  blessing, 
and  more  willingly  and  gladly  ought  ye  to  go  for 
alms  than  he  that  for  a  single  piece  of  money 
did  offer  an  hundred  pence,  seeing  that  unto 
them  from  whom  ye  shall  ask  an  alms  ye  do 
offer  the  love  of  God,  saying  :  c  For  the  love 
of  God  do  us  an  alms,'  in  comparison  where 
with  heaven  and  earth  are  nought." 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

And,  for  that  the  brethren  were  few,  he 
was  not  able  to  send  them  forth  two  and  two, 
wherefore  he  sent  each  one  by  himself  to  go 
among  the  castles  and  towns.  And  it  came 
to  pass,  when  they  returned  with  such  alms 
as  they  had  found,  that  each  did  show  to  the 
Blessed  Francis  the  alms  that  he  had  gathered. 
And  one  would  say  unto  another  :  "  I  have 
gathered  more  alms  than  thou."  Afid  the 
Blessed  Francis  did  rejoice  hereof  beholding 
them  so  blithe  and  joyous.  And  thencefor 
ward  did  each  right  gladly  ask  leave  to  go 
forth  for  alms. 

XIX,— That  he  would  ABOUT    the   same 

not    the   brethren   should  timC)      wrien     the 

be    anxious    to    make  Blessed  Francis  was 

prov^on      for      to-  with     uchb      h 

as    he    then    had, 

in  so  great  poverty  did  he  live  with  them 
that  in  all  things  and  throughout  all  they  did 
observe  the  Holy  Gospel  to  the  letter,  to  wit, 
from  the  day  that  the  Lord  revealed  unto  him 
that  he  and  his  brethren  ought  to  live  accord 
ing  to  the  pattern  of  the  Holy  Gospel. 
Wherefore  he  forbade  the  brother  that  did 
the  cooking  for  the  brethren  to  put  the  herbs 
into  hot  water  of  an  evening,  as  is  the  wont, 
when  he  was  to  give  them  the  brethren  to  eat 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

on  the  day  following,  so  that  that  they  might 
observe  that  word  of  the  Holy  Gospel,  "  Take 
no  thought  for  the  morrow."  And  so  that 
brother  did  put  off  setting  them  to  be  sodden 
until  after  matins,  when  the  day  was  already 
begun  whereon  they  should  be  eaten.  Where 
fore  for  a  long  time  many  brethren  in  many 
places  did  observe  the  same,  having  no  mind 
to  gather  or  receive  more  alms  than  were 
necessary  for  one  day,  more  especially  in  the 

XX, — How  he  did  rebuke  \VHEN  a  certain 
by  word  and  example  minister  of  the 
those  brethren  that  had  brethren  had  come 
made  ready  the  table  tQ  the  Blessed 
sumptuously  on  the  day  of  ^  r 

the  Lord's  Nativity.  Francis    for     the 

purpose  of  cele 
brating  with  him  the  feast  of  the  Lord's 
nativity  at  the  place  of  the  brethren  of  Rieti, 
the  brethren,  by  occasion  of  the  minister  and 
the  feast,  had  set  out  the  tables  somewhat 
worshipfully  and  curiously  on  the  very  day  of 
the  Nativity,  spreading  napkins  fair  and 
white,  with  glass  vessels  thereupon.  The 
Blessed  Francis,  coming  down  from  his  cell 
to  eat,  saw  the  tables  raised  on  a  dais  and 
curiously  set  out.  Thereupon  he  went 
straightway  secretly  and  took  the  staff  and 
33  c 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

scrip  of  a  certain  poor  man  that  had  come 
that  day,1  and,  calling  one  of  his  companions 
in  a  whisper,  he  went  forth  of  the  door  with 
out  the  brethren  of  the  house  knowing  it. 
Howbeit,  the  companion  abided  within  nigh 
the  door.  In  the  meanwhile  the  brethren  came 
in  to  meat,  for  the  Blessed  Francis  had  bidden 
the  brethren  never  to  wait  for  him  when  he 
came  not  forthwith  at  the  hour  of  eating 
together.  And,  after  that  he  had  stood  a  little 
space  without,  he  knocked  at  the  door,  and 
forthwith  his  companion  opened  unto  him, 
and,  coming  in  with  the  scrip  on  his  back  and 
the  staff  in  his  hand,  he  went  to  the  door  of 
the  house,  wherein  the  brethren  were  eating, 
together,  as  a  pilgrim  and  a  beggar,  and  cried 
out,  saying  :  "  For  the  love  of  our  Lord  God 
give  an  alms  to  this  poor  sick  pilgrim  ! "  But 
the  minister  and  the  rest  of  the  brethren  did 
know  him  again  at  once,  and  the  minister 
made  answer  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  we  also 
be  poor,  and  for  that  we  be  many,  the  alms 
that  we  have  be  necessary  unto  us,  but  for  the 
love  of  the  Lord  of  whom  thou  hast  spoken, 
enter  into  the  house,  and  we  will  give  thee  of 
the  alms  that  the  Lord  hath  given  unto  us  !  " 
And  when  he  had  come  in,  and  was  standing 
before  the  table  of  the  brethren,  the  minister 
gave  him  a  platter,  wherein  he  did  eat,  and  of 
the  bread  in  like  manner.  And,  receiving  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

same,  he  sate  humbly  by  the  fire,  while  the 
brethren  did  sit  at  the  table.  Then  he  sighed 
and  said  to  the  brethren  :  "  When  I  beheld 
the  table  honourably  and  curiously  made  ready, 
I  bethought  me  that  it  was  not  the  table  of 
poor  Religious  that  every  day  do  go  from  door 
to  door  for  alms,  for,  my  best  beloved,  unto  us 
rather  is  it  seemly  to  follow  the  ensample  of 
the  humility  and  poverty  of  Christ  even  more 
than  unto  other  Religious,  forasmuch  as  unto 
this  have  we  been  called  and  made  profession 
thereof  before  God  and  before  men.  Whence 
meseemeth  it  only  right  that  I  should  sit  as  a 
brother  Minor,  for  the  festivals  of  the  Lord 
and  of  other  saints  be  more  honoured  by  the 
need  and  poverty  whereby  the  saints  them 
selves  did  win  to  heaven,  than  by  the  curious- 
ness  and  superfluity  whereby  the  soul  is 
withdrawn  away  from  Heaven."  Hereat 
were  the  brethren  ashamed,  bethinking  them 
that  what  he  had  said  was  very  sooth.  And 
certain  of  them  began  to  weep  sore,  beholding 
how  he  sat  upon  the  ground,  and  that  he  was 
fain  to  correct  and  teach  them  in  such  holy 
and  simple  wise.  He  admonished  the  brethren, 
moreover,  that  they  should  have  their  tables 
so  humble  and  cleanly  as  that  they  of  this 
world  might  be  edified  thereby,  and  if  it 
should  so  befall  that  any  poor  man  should  be 
invited  by  the  brethren,  he  might  sit  along 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

with  them  as  an  equal,  and  not,  Jike  a  beggar, 
on  the  ground,  while  the  brethren  sate  at  the 
high  table. 

XXL— How   the   Lord  THE  Lord  Bishop  of 

Bishop  of  Ostia  wept  and  Qstia  that  was  after- 

was  edified  at  the  poverty  wards  pope  Gregory, 

of  the  brethren.  when  he  came  tQ  the 

Chapter  of  the  brethren  at  S.  Mary  of  the 
Little  Portion,  went  into  the  house  to  look  at 
the  brethren's  dormitory  with  a  number  of 
soldiers  and  clerics,  and,  when  he  saw  that  the 
brethren  lay  on  the  ground  and  had  nought 
under  them  but  a  little  straw  and  some  bolsters,  *- 
all  tattered  and  torn  as  it  were,  and  no  pillows, 
he  began  to  weep  sore  before  them  all,  saying: 
"  Look  you  here  where  the  brethren  sleep, 
while  we  wretched  ones  do  make  use  of  so 
many  superfluities  !  How  will  it  be  with  us  for 
this  ?  "  Whereby  he  himself  and  all  the  rest 
were  much  edified.  Moreover,  no  table  saw 
he  there,  for  that  in  that  place  the  brethren 
did  eat  together  on  the  ground. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XXIL— How  the  soldiers  WHEN  the  Blessed 
found  things  necessary  by  Francis  was  at  the 
asking  an  alms  from  door  Jace  at  fiagnara 
to  door  according  to  the  ab  h  f  f 

counsel  of  the  Blessed      XT  ,  .       £ 

Francis,  Nocera,   his    feet 

began     to     swell 

grievously  by  reason  of  the  ailment  of  a  dropsy, 
and  sore  sick  was  he  there.  But  when  the  men 
of  Assisi  heard  thereof,  certain  soldiers  came  in 
haste  to  that  place  that  they  might  bring  him  to 
Assisi,  fearing  lest  in  case  he  should  die  there, 
others  might  have  his  most  holy  body.  But 
whilst  they  were  bringing  him  on  the  way, 
they  rested  in  a  certain  walled  town  within  the 
lordship  of  Assisi  to  dine  there,  and  the  Blessed 
Francis  lay  quiet  in  the  house  of  a  certain 
poor  man  that  willingly  did  take  him  in,  while 
the  soldiers  went  about  the  town  to  buy  them 
necessaries,  the  which  howbeit  they  found  not. 
Wherefore  they  came  back  to  the  Blessed 
Francis,  saying  unto  him  as  it  were  in  jest : 
"Brother,  needs  must  you  give  us  some  of 
your  alms,  for  here  can  we  have  nought  to 
eat."  And  the  Blessed  Francis  with  great 
fervour  of  spirit  saith  unto  them  :  "  The 
reason  wherefore  ye  have  found  nought  is  that 
ye  put  your  trust  in  your  flies  and  your  deniers  " 
— for  he  was  wont  to  call  money  "  flies " 
— "  and  not  in  God.  Now  turn  ye  back 
to  the  houses  among  the  which  ye  went  seek- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Ing  to  buy,  and  setting  aside  all  shamefast- 
ness,  ask  an  alms  there  for  the  love  of  the 
Lord  God,  and  by  the  inspiration  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  they  will  give  unto  you  abundantly." 

They  went  therefore  and  asked  an  alms  as 
he  had  told  them  and  with  much  gladness  and 
abundance  did  they  of  whom  the  alms  were 
asked  give  of  such  things  as  they  had.  And 
knowing  that  this  by  miracle  had  befallen 
them,  with  great  joy  did  they  return  unto  the 
Blessed  Francis  praising  the  Lord. 

Thus,  verily,  did  the  Blessed  Francis  hold 
it  a  high  nobility  both  as  towards  God  and  as 
towards  the  world  to  seek  alms  for  the  love  of 
the  Lord  God,  for  that  all  things  which  the 
Heavenly  Father  did  create  for  the  use  of  man 
on  account  of  His  love  for  His  well-beloved 
Son,  were  freely  granted  by  way  of  alms  after 
sin,  alike  to  the  worthy  and  the  unworthy. 

For  he  said  that  the  servant  of  God  ought 
more  willingly  and  joyfully  to  ask  an  alms  for 
the  love  of  the  Lord  God,  than  he  that 
of  his  largesse  and  courtesy  should  go  about 
saying  :  "  Whosoever  shall  give  me  such  a 
piece  of  money  as  is  worth  but  a  single  penny 
unto  him  will  I  give  a  thousand  marks  of 
gold,"  forasmuch  as  the  servant  of  God  in 
asking  an  alms  doth  offer  the  love  of  God 
unto  them  of  whom  he  asketh,  in  comparison 
wherewith  all  things  that  are  in  heaven  and  in 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

earth  be  as  nought.  Whence  before  such 
time  as  the  brethren  were  multiplied,  and  even 
after  that  they  were  multiplied,  when  they 
went  about  the  world  preaching  and  were 
invited  by  any  howsoever  noble  and  rich,  to  eat 
and  to  lodge  with  him,  always  at  the  hour 
of  eating  they  went  for  alms  or  ever  they 
went  into  his  house,  as  a  good  ensample  to  the 
brethren  and  for  the  dignity  of  our  Lady 
Poverty.  And  many  a  time  did  he  say  unto 
him  that  did  invite  him  that  he  would  not  go, 
making  answer  thus  unto  him  :  "  I  am  fain 
not  to  lay  aside  my  royal  dignity  and  heritage, 
and  my  profession  and  that  of  my  brethren, 
to  wit,  to  go  for  alms  from  door  to  door."  And 
sometimes  he  that  had  invited  him  would  go 
with  him,  and  such  alms  as  the  Blessed 
Francis  did  obtain  would  he  keep  as  relics  on 
account  of  his  devotion.  He  that  wrote  these 
things  saw  this  many  a  time  and  doth  hereby 
bear  witness  thereof. 

XXIIL— How  he  went  lot  ON  a  time  when  the 
alms  before  he  would  go  Blessed  Francis  was 
in  to  the  Cardinal's  visiting  the  Lord 
table*  Bishop  of  Ostia 

that  was   afterward    Pope    Gregory,    at    the 
hour    of    eating    together     he    went    as    it 
were    by    stealth    from    door    to    door    for 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

alms,  and  when  he  was  come  back  the 
Lord  Bishop  of  Ostia  had  already  gone  in 
to  meat  with  a  number  of  knights  and 
nobles.  But  the  Blessed  Francis  drawing 
nigh  the  table  did  set  thereon  before  the 
Cardinal  such  alms  as  he  had  found  and  took 
his  seat  next  him  at  the  table,  for  he  would 
that  the  Blessed  Francis  should  always  sit 
anigh  him.  And  the  Cardinal  was  thereby 
some  little  ashamed  that  he  should  have  gone 
for  alms  and  set  them  on  the  table,  but  as  at 
that  time  he  said  nought  unto  him  on  account 
of  them  that  were  there  present  seated.  And 
when  he  had  eaten  some  little,  the  Blessed 
Francis  took  of  his  alms  and  sent  a  morsel 
thereof  to  each  of  the  knights  and  the  chap 
lains  of  my  Lord  Cardinal  on  behalf  of  our 
Lord  God.  Who  all  receiving  the  same  with 
great  gladness  and  devotion,  did  spread  out  their 
hoods  and  cassocks  and  some  did  eat  thereof 
and  some  did  set  it  aside  out  of  devotion  to 
him.  But  my  Lord  Cardinal  of  Ostia  did 
greatly  rejoice  thereat  on  account  of  their 
devotion  and  most  of  all  for  that  those  alms 
were  not  of  wheaten  bread. 

After  meat,  he  went  into  his  chamber, 
taking  with  him  the  Blessed  Francis,  and 
lifting  up  his  arms  did  embrace  the  Blessed 
Francis  with  exceeding  gladness  and  rejoicing, 
saying  unto  him  :  "  O  most  simple  brother 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

mine,  wherefore  hast  thou  done  me  shame  this 
day,  insomuch  as  that  coming  to  my  house, 
which  is  the  house  of  the  brethren,  thou 
shouldst  go  forth  for  alms  ?  " 

The  Blessed  Francis  made  answer  :  a  Verily, 
my  Lord,  I  have  shown  thee  the  greatest  honour, 
for  that  when  a  liege  subject  doth  his  duty  and 
fulfilleth  his  obedience  unto  his  lord,  he  doth 
honour  unto  his  lord,  and,"  saith  he,  "  meet  it 
is  that  I  be  the  pattern  and  ensample  of  your 
poor  men,  and  most  of  all  for  that  I  know  in 
this  religion  of  the  brotherhood  there  are  and 
will  be  brethren  Minor  in  name  and  in  work 
that  for  the  love  of  the  Lord  God  and  for  the 
anointing  of  the  Holy  Spirit  who  shall  teach 
them  in  all  things  shall  humble  themselves 
to  all  humility  and  subjection  and  service  of 
their  brethren.  Some,  moreover,  there  are 
and  will  be  among  them  that  either  held  back 
by  shame  or  by  reason  of  evil  habit  disdain  and 
will  disdain  to  humiliate  and  lower  themselves 
by  going  forth  for  alms  and  to  do  other  menial 
works,  wherefore  it  is  meet  that  I  teach  by 
my  work  them  that  are  and  shall  be  of  the 
religion,  so  as  that  in  this  world  and  in  the 
world  to  come  they  may  be  without  excuse 
before  God.  When,  therefore,  I  am  sojourn 
ing  with  you  that  are  our  Lord  and  Pope,  or 
with  other  worshipful  and  rich  men  of  the 
world  that  for  the  love  of  our  Lord  God  do 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

not  only  receive  me  with  much  devotion  into 
your  houses,  but  do  even  compel  me  to  come 
in,  I  am  fain  not  to  be  ashamed  of  going  forth 
for  alms,  nay,  rather,  am  I  fain  to  have  and  to 
hold  this  as  towards  God  for  the  highest 
nobility  and  a  royal  dignity,  and  in  honour  of 
Him  who  being  Lord  of  all  was  willing  for 
our  sakes  to  become  servant  of  all,  and  who 
when  He  was  rich  and  glorious  in  His  majesty 
did  come  as  one  poor  and  despised  in  our 
humility.  Whence  I  desire  that  the  brethren, 
both  they  that  now  are  and  they  that  shall 
be  hereafter,  should  know  that  I  hold  it  for  a 
greater  consolation  both  of  soul  and  body  when 
I  sit  at  the  sorry  table  of  the  brethren,  and  *- 
behold  before  me  the  sorry  alms  that  are 
obtained  from  door  to  door  for  the  love  of  our 
Lord  God,  than  when  I  sit  at  your  board  or 
that  of  other  lords  plentifully  laid  out  with 
divers  dainty  meats.  For  the  bread  of  alms 
is  holy  bread  that  the  praise  and  love  of  the 
Lord  God  doth  hallow,  forasmuch  as  whenso 
ever  a  brother  goeth  forth  for  alms,  he  ought 
first  of  all  to  say :  c  Praised  and  blessed  be 
God  our  Lord.'  Afterwards  he  ought  to 
say  :  c  Do  us  an  alms  for  the  love  of  our 
Lord  God!'" 

And  by  the  setting  forth  of  words  of  this 
kind  by  the  Blessed  Francis  was  the  Cardinal 
greatly  edified,  and  he  saith  unto  him,  "  My 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

son,  do  whatsoever  is  right  in  thine  own  eyes, 
forasmuch  as  God  is  with  thee  and  thou  art 
with  Him." 

For  the  will  of  the  Blessed  Francis  was 
thus,  and  many  a  time  he  said  that  a  brother 
ought  not  to  stand  long  upon  going  forth 
for  alms  on  account  of  the  great  merit  thereof 
and  lest  he  should  be  shamed  to  go  forth 
afterwards.  Yea,  the  more  noble  and  better 
off  in  the  world  was  the  brother,  by  so  much 
the  more  was  he  rejoiced  and  edined  as  con 
cerning  him  when  he  went  forth  for  alms 
and  did  other  menial  works  that  the  brethren 
did  as  at  that  time. 

XXIV,— Of  the  brother  AT  the  outset  of  the 
that  did  neither  pray  Religion,  when  the 
nor  work,  but  did  eat  brethren  sojourned 
wel1'  at  Rivo  Torto,  near 

Assisi,  among  them  was  a  .certain  brother 
that  did  hardly  pray  at  all,  and  never  did  any 
work.  He  would  not  go  forth  for  alms,  but 
he  did  eat  bravely.  Perceiving  these  things, 
the  Blessed  Francis  knew  by  the  Holy  Spirit 
that  he  was  a  carnal  man,  and  saith  he  unto 
him  :  "  Go  thy  ways,  brother  fly,  forasmuch 
as  thou  art  minded  to  devour  the  labour  of  thy 
brethren  and  to  be  slothful  in  the  work  of 
God,  even  as  the  idle  drone  and  barren  that 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

winneth  nought  nor  laboureth,  but  devoureth 
the  winning  and  the  travail  of  the  good  bees." 
And  so  he  went  his  way,  and,  for  that  he  was 
carnal,  he  neither  sought  for  nor  found 

XXV.— How  he   went  AT     another    time, 

forth  with  fervour  to  a  a]so      while     the 

certain  poor  man  that  Blessed  Frands  wag 

went  with  alms  praising  sojourning    at    g 

Mary  of  the  Little 

Portion,  a  certain  poor  man,  right  spiritual, 
came  by  the  highway  as  he  returned  from 
Assisi,  whither  he  had  gone  for  alms,  and** 
he  went  along  praising  God  in  a  loud 
voice  with  great  gladness.  But  when  he 
came  nigh  the  church  of  the  Blessed  Mary, 
the  Blessed  Francis  heard  him,  and  forthwith 
went  out  to  him  with  exceeding  great  fervour 
and  joy,  meeting  him  in  the  way,  and  with 
much  gladness  kissing  his  shoulder,  whereon 
he  bore  the  wallet  with  his  alms.  And  he 
took  the  wallet  from  his  shoulder  and  set  it 
on  his  own  shoulder,  and  so  carried  the  same 
into  the  house  of  the  brethren,  and  said  before 
the  brethren  :  "  Thus  would  I  that  my  brother 
should  go  and  return  with  alms,  glad  and 
joyful  and  praising  God." 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

XXVI,— How  it  was  re-  ON  a  certain  occa- 
vealed  unto  him  of  the  sjon  the  Blessed 
Lord  that  they  should  be  Francis  said .  "The 
called  Friars  Minor,  to  Rdi  ion  and*  Hfe  of 
wit,  Lesser  Brethren,  and  ,  P  .  **. 

should  announce  peace  the  brethren  Minor 
and  salvation,  1S  a  certain  little 

flock  that  the  Son  or 

God  in  this  last  hour  did  ask  of  His  Heavenly 
Father,  saying  :  c  Father,  I  would  that  Thou 
shouldst  make  and  give  Me  a  new  people  and 
an  humble  in  this  last  hour,  that  in  humilityand 
poverty  shall  be  unlike  unto  all  that  have  gone 
before  them,  and  shall  be  content  to  have  Me 
only.'  And  the  Father  hearkeneth  unto  His 
Son,  and  saith  :  c  My  Son,  this  that  Thou 
hast  asked  of  Me  is  done.' " 

Whence  the  Blessed  Francis  said  that  God 
did  therefore  will  and  reveal  unto  him  that 
they  should  be  called  brethren  Minor,  for  that 
they  be  the  people  poor  and  humble  whom  the 
Son  of  God  did  ask  of  His  Father,  of  the 
which  people  the  Son  of  God  Himself  saith 
in  the  Gospel :  "  Fear  not,  little  flock,  for  it 
is  your  Father's  good  pleasure  to  give  you  the 
kingdom."  And  again  :  "  Inasmuch  as  ye 
have  done  it  unto  one  of  the  least  of  these 
My  brethren,  ye  have  done  it  unto  Me."  And 
albeit  the  Lord  did  understand  this  of  all  poor 
men  spiritual,  yet  did  he  hereby  more  espe 
cially  foretell  the  Religion  of  the  brethren 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

Minor   that   should   come   thereafter   in   His 

Wherefore,  according  as  it  was  revealed 
unto  the  Blessed  Francis  that  the  Religion 
ought  to  be  called  of  the  brethren  Minor,  so 
did  he  make  the  same  be  written  in  the  first 
Rule  that  he  did  lay  before  Pope  Innocent  III., 
who  did  approve  and  grant  it,  and  afterwards 
did  announce  in  Consistory  to  all.  In  like 
wise  the  Lord  did  reveal  to  him  the  salutation 
that  the  brethren  ought  to  say,  even  as  he  made 
be  written  in  his  will,  saying  :  "  The  Lord 
revealed  unto  me  that  I  ought  to  say  by  way 
of  salutation  :  c  The  Lord  give  thee  peace  !  ' ; 

Whence,  in  the  beginning  of  the  Religion,  • 
when  he  went  with  a  certain  brother  that  was 
one  of  the  twelve  first,  the  brother  saluted 
men  and  women  by  the  way  and  them  that 
were  in  the  fields,  saying  :  "  The  Lord  give 
ye  peace  :  "  And,  for  that  men  had  not  heard 
such  a  salutation  made  aforetime  by  any  Reli 
gious,  they  did  much  marvel  thereof.  Yea, 
some  there  were  that  said  unto  them  with 
indignation  :  "  What  meaneth  this  same  salu 
tation  of  yours  ?  "  So  that  the  brother  did 
begin  thereof  to  be  ashamed,  and  on  this 
account  said  unto  the  Blessed  Francis :  "  Give 
me  leave  to  say  another  salutation."  And  the 
Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  him  :  "  Let  them 
talk,  for  they  perceive  not  the  things  that  are 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

of  God.  Natheless,  be  not  ashamed,  forasmuch 
as  nobles  and  princes  of  this  world  shall  mani 
fest  their  reverence  toward  thee  and  other  of 
the  brethren  by  reason  of  this  salutation.  For 
no  great  thing  is  it,  and  if  the  Lord  be  minded 
to  have  a  new  people  and  a  small,  peculiar  and 
unlike  all  that  went  before  in  life  and  in 
words,  that  shall  be  content  to  have  Himself 
only,  that  is  sweeter  than  any  !  " 


XXVII.— And,  first,  how  ON  a  time  when  the 
he  condescended  to  a  Blessed  Francis 
brother  that  was  dying  of  began  to  have 
hunger  eating  with  him  bre&thren  and  was 
and  admonishing  the  .  .  .  , 

brethren  that  they  should  sojourning  with 
do  penance  discreetly.  them  at  Rlvo  Torto, 

near  Assisi,  it  so  fell 

out  on  a  certain  night,  while  all  the  brethren 
were  asleep  about  the  middle  of  the  night,  that 
one  of  the  brethren  cried  out  saying  :  "  I  am 
dying  !  I  am  dying  !  "  Whereupon  all  the 
brethren  did  awake  from  sleep  amazed  and 
sore  afeard.  And,  rising  up,  the  Blessed 
Francis  said  :  "  Arise,  brethren,  and  kindle 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

the  light  !  "  And  when  the  light  was  kindled 
he  said  :  "  Who  is  he  that  said  *  I  am  dying'?" 
And  the  brother  made  answer:  "I  am  he." 
And  he  saith  unto  him:  "What  aileth  thee, 
brother?  How  art  thou  dying?"  But  he 
saith  :  "I  am  dying  of  hunger." 

Then  the  Blessed  Francis  forthwith  had  a 
table  laid  out,  and,  as  a  man  full  of  charity 
and  discretion,  did  eat  with  him  lest  he  should 
be  ashamed  to  eat  alone  ;  and  by  his  will,  all 
the  other  brethren  did  eat  with  him  likewise. 

For  that  brother  and  all  the  rest  were  newly 
converted  to  the  Lord,  and  did  afflict  their 
bodies  beyond  measure.  And  after  that  they 
had  eaten  together,  the  Blessed  Francis  said" 
unto  the  rest  of  the  brethren:  "My  best 
beloved,  I  say  unto  you  that  each  one  of  you 
ought  to  pay  heed  unto  his  own  nature,  for, 
albeit  that  some  one  of  you  may  be  strong  enow 
to  be  sustained  by  less  food  than  other  some,  yet 
it  is  my  will  that  he  which  needeth  more  food 
shall  not  be  bound  to  imitate  that  other  herein, 
but,  paying  heed  to  his  own  nature,  let  him 
allow  his  body  the  necessity  thereof,  in  such 
sort  that  he  may  be  enough  strong  to  serve 
the  spirit.  For,  whereas  we  be  held  to  beware 
of  superfluity  of  food,  the  which  is  a  hindrance 
both  to  the  body  and  the  soul,  so  likewise,  and 
even  more,  ought  we  to  beware  of  too  great 
abstinence,  seeing  that  the  Lord  willeth  mercy 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  not  sacrifice."  Moreover,  saith  he  :  "My 
best  beloved  brethren,  this  that  I  have  done, 
to  wit,  that  out  of  charity  toward  my  brother, 
we  have  eaten  together  equally  with  him,  lest 
he  should  be  ashamed  to  eat  alone,  it  was 
rather  necessity  and  charity  that  compelled  me 
so  to  do  ;  but  I  say  unto  you  that  it  is  not  my 
will  hereafter  to  do  the  like,  forasmuch  as  it 
would  be  neither  religious  nor  becoming  ;  but 
my  will  it  is,  and  I  do  enjoin  you  that  each 
one  of  the  brethren  do,  according  to  our 
poverty,  satisfy  the  needs  of  his  body  as  may 
be  necessary  for  him." 

For  the  first  brethren,  and  others  that  came 
after  them,  for  a  long  time  did  afflict  their 
bodies  beyond  measure  by  abstinence  from 
meat  and  drink,  by  vigils,  by  cold,  by  coarseness 
of  raiment,  and  by  the  labour  of  their  hands. 
They  wore  underneath,  next  the  skin,  girdles 
of  iron  and  exceeding  strong  coats  of  chain- 
mail  and  hair  shirts;  wherefore  the  holy  father, 
bethinking  him  that  upon  such  occasion  the 
brethren  might  become  ailing  and  sick,  and, 
in  truth,  certain  of  them  did  in  a  little  time 
wax  sick,  did  in  a  certain  clause  forbid  any 
brother  to  wear  aught  save  his  habit  only 
underneath  next  the  skin. 

Natheless,  we  that  were  with  him  do  bear 
witness  of  him  that,  albeit  all  the  days  of  his 
ife  he  was  discreet  and  forbearing  toward  the 
49  D 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

brethren,  yet  was  it  in  such  sort  as  that  the 
brethren,  in  the  matter  of  food  as  in  other 
things,  should  at  no  time  ever  depart  from  the 
way  of  poverty  and  decency  of  our  Religion. 
The  most  holy  father  himself,  from  the  begin 
ning  of  his  conversion  even  unto  the  end  of  his 
life  was  nevertheless  always  austere  toward  his 
own  body,  albeit  he  was  by  nature  feeble,  and 
could  not  live  in  the  world  otherwise  than 
delicately.  Whence,  on  a  certain  time,  taking 
note  that  the  brethren  did,  as  at  that  time, 
exceed  the  measure  of  poverty  and  decency  in 
food  and  in  all  things,  in  a  certain  sermon  he 
preached  to  sundry  of  the  brethren,  in  the 
person  of  all  the  brethren  he  said  :  "  T 
brethren  think  that  our  pittance  is  not  enow 
for  the  necessities  of  my  body,  yet,  inasmuch 
as  it  behoveth  me  to  be  the  pattern  and  en- 
sample  of  all  the  brethren,  it  is  my  will  to  use 
and  to  be  content  with  few  meats,  and  those 
of  the  poorest,  and  to  use  all  other  things  in 
accordance  with  poverty,  utterly  abhorring  al 
things  sumptuous  and  delicate." 

XXVIII, — How   he   con*      ANOTHER    time, 
descended  to  a  sick  brother      when     the     B  lessee 
by  eating  grapes  with      Francis  was  at    the 
im*  same  place,  a  certain 

spiritual  brother  and  ancient  in  the  religion  lay 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

there  sick  and  very  feeble.  Taking  note  of  whom 
the  Blessed  Francis  was  moved  to  pity  over 
him,  but  forasmuch  as  that  time  the  brethren, 
both  they  that  were  heal  and  they  that  were 
sick,  did  with  great  cheerfulness  use  poverty 
as  it  had  been  abundance,  and  in  their  ailments 
made  no  use  of  medicines,  nor  did  even  ask 
for  them,  but  did  rather  take  more  willingly 
such  things  as  were  unwholesome  to  the  body, 
the  Blessed  Francis  said  within  himself:  "  And 
that  brother  would  eat  ripe  grapes  the  first 
thing  in  the  morning,  I  do  believe  it  would 
do  him  good."  And  as  he  thought  even  so 
did  he. 

Whereupon  one  day  he  arose  early  in  the 
morning  and  called  the  brother  secretly  and 
led  him  into  a  certain  vineyard  that  was 
nigh  the  place.  And  he  chose  a  vine  whereon 
were  grapes  good  to  eat,  and  seating  him  nigh 
the  vine  with  the  brother,  he  began  to  eat  of 
the  grapes  lest  the  brother  himself  should  be 
ashamed  to  eat  alone.  And  while  they  were 
yet  eating,  the  brother  was  delivered  of  his 
ailment,  and  both  together  alike  praised  God. 

Whence  that  brother  did  all  the  days  of  his 
life  remember  the  mercy  and  pity  that  the 
most  holy  father  showed  and  did  unto  him, 
and  oftentimes  with  great  devotion  and  shed 
ding  of  tears  would  relate  the  same  among 
the  brethren. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XXIX,— How  he  made  AT  Celano    in    the 

strip  himself  and  his  com-  winter    time     when 

panion  that  he  might  the  Blessed   Francis 

clothe  a  poor  woman.  had    &    doth    folded 

after  the  fashion  of  a  mantle  that  a  certain  friend  of 
the  brethren  had  lent  him,  a  certain  old  woman 
met  him  and  begged  an  alms.  Whereupon 
he  straightway  loosed  the  cloth  from  his  neck, 
and  albeit  that  it  were  another's,  gave  it  to 
the  poor  woman,  saying  :  "  Go  and  make  thee 
a  kirtle  thereof  for  thy  need  is  sore  enow." 

The  old  woman  laughed  thereat,  and  in 
amaze,  I  know  not  whether  of  fear  or  joy, 
took  the  cloth  from  his  hands,  and  for  fear 
lest  and  if  she  should  wait  there  might  be* 
danger  of  the  same  being  asked  for  back,  ran 
as  fast  as  she  could  and  cut  the  cloth  with  her 
shears.  But  when  she  found  that  there  was 
not  enough  cloth  for  a  kirtle,  she  came 
running  back  to  the  first  kindness  of  the  holy 
father,  pointing  out  to  him  that  the  piece  of 
cloth  was  too  scanty  for  a  kirtle.  The  saint 
turned  his  eyes  toward  his  companion  that 
wore  such  another  piece  of  cloth  on  his  back, 
and  said  unto  him  :  "  Thou  hearest  what  this 
poor  woman  saith  :  For  the  love  of  God  let 
us  bear  with  the  cold  and  give  that  piece  of 
cloth  to  the  poor  woman,  so  that  her  kirtle 
may  be  whole."  And  straightway  as  he  him 
self  had  given,  the  companion  gave  also. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Thus  did  both  of  them  abide  bare  that  the 
poor  woman  might  be  clad. 

XXX.— That  he  held  it  a  ONCE  on  a  time 
theft  not  to  give  to  one  when  he  was 
more  needy.  coming  back  from 

Siena  he  met  with  a  certain  poor  man,  and 
saith  he  to  his  companion,  "  Needs  must 
we  render  up  his  mantle  to  this  poor  man 
whose  own  it  is,  ror  we  only  received  the 
same  as  a  loan  until  such  time  as  we  should 
find  one  poorer  than  ourselves."  But  the 
companion  having  regard  to  the  pious  father's 
own  necessity,  stoutly  maintained  that  he 
ought  not  to  provide  for  another  and  neglect 
himself.  Unto  whom  said  St.  Francis  : 
"  No  mind  have  I  to  be  a  thief,  for  it  would 
be  imputed  to  us  as  a  theft  were  we  not  to 
give  it  to  one  more  needy."  Whereupon  the 
pious  father  gave  the  mantle  as  a  present  to 
the  poor  man. 

XXXL — How  he  gave  a  AT    the    Cell    of 

new  mantle  to  a  poor  man  Cortona  the  Blessed 

upon  condition,  Francis    wore     a 

new    mantle    that    the  brethren    had    pro 
cured  for  him  with  some  trouble.     A  poor 

man  came  to  the  place  lamenting  his   wife 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

that  was  dead  and  his  family  left  poverty- 
stricken.  On  whom  the  Saint  having  com-  ] 
passion,  said  :  "  I  give  thee  this  mantle  upon 
such  condition,  that  thou  render  it  up  to  none 
save  he  buy  it  fairly  and  pay  thee."  And 
when  the  brethren  heard  this,  they  ran 
together  to  the  poor  man,  that  they  might  ; 
take  the  mantle  away  from  him.  But  the 
poor  man  taking  heart  of  grace  in  the  sight  of 
the  holy  father,  held  it  fast  with  joined  hands, 
and  was  carrying  it  off  as  being  his  own.  In 
the  end  the  brethren  redeemed  the  mantle, 
taking  care  that  a  fair  price  should  be  paid  to 
the  poor  man. 

XXXIL-How  a  certain      AT  the  Hill  in  the 

poor  man,  by  virtue  of  lordship  of  Perugia, 
the  alms  of  the  Blessed  the  Blessed  Francis 
Francis,  forgave  his  lord  tQok  [n  a  certain 
the  wrongs  he  had  done  ,  • 

him,   and   laid   aside  his  °m  f 

hatred,  ^ad     known    afore 

time  in  the  world, 

and  said  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  how  is  it  with 
thee  ?  "  But  he  in  the  wrath  of  his  heart 
began  to  utter  curses  against  his  lord,  saying  : 
"  Thanks  to  my  lord,  whom  may  the  Lord 
curse,  I  cannot  be  otherwise  than  ill,  seeing 
that  all  my  goods  hath  he  taken  away  from 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

But  the  Blessed  Francis  seeing  that  he 
persisted  in  his  deadly  hatred,  having  pity  on 
his  soul,  saith  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  for  the 
love  of  God,  forgive  thy  lord,  that  thou  mayst 
set  free  thy  soul,  and  it  may  be  that  he  will 
give  thee  back  the  things  he  hath  taken  from 
thee.  Elsewise  thou  hast  lost  thy  things  and 
wilt  lose  thy  soul."  And  he  said  :  "  I  cannot 
utterly  forgive  him  save  he  give  me  back  the 
things  he  hath  taken  away  from  me."  Then 
the  Blessed  Francis  said  :  "  Behold,  I  give 
thee  this  mantle,  and  I  pray  thee  for  the  love 
of  the  Lord  God  that  thou  forgive  thy  lord." 
And  forthwith  his  heart  was  sweetened,  and 
moved  thereunto  by  the  favour,  he  did  forgive 
his  lord  the  wrongs  he  had  done  him. 

XXXIIL— How  he  sent  a  A  CERTAIN  poor 
mantle  to  a  poor  woman  WOman  of Machilone 
that  suffered  in  the  eyes  as  came  to  Ried  for  an 
did  himself.  infirmity  of  the  eyes. 

But  when  the  leech  came  to  the  Blessed  Francis 
he  said  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  a  certain  woman 
that  hath  an  infirmity  of  the  eyes  hath  come 
unto  me,  but  so  poor  is  she  that  needs  must  I 
give  her  her  expenses."  As  soon  as  he  heard  this 
he  was  moved  to  pity  of  her  case,  and  calling 
one  of  the  brethren  that  was  his  warden,  he 
said  unto  him  :  "  Brother  warden,  needs  must 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

we  return  our  loan."  Who  saith  :  "  What  is 
the  loan,  brother  ?  "  Whereupon  he  said  : 
"  The  mantle  that  we  did  borrow  of  the  poor 
sick  woman  we  must  return  unto  her."  And 
his  warden  saith  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  what 
soever  seemeth  thee  best,  that  do  thou." 

Then  the  Blessed  Francis  did  joyfully  call 
a  certain  spiritual  man  that  was  familiar  with 
him  and  said  unto  him  :  "  Take  this  mantle 
and  twelve  loaves  therewithal,  and  go  unto 
the  poor  woman  that  hath  an  infirmity  of  the 
eyes,  whom  the  leech  shall  show  thee,  and  say 
unto  her  :  <  The  poor  man  unto  whom  thou 
didst  lend  this  mantle  sendeth  thanks  unto 
thee  for  the  loan  thereof.  Take  that  which  is 
thine  own.' " 

He  went  accordingly  and  said  to  the  woman 
all  that  the  Blessed  Francis  had  said  unto  him. 
But  she,  conceiving  that  a  jape  was  being 
played  upon  her,  with  fear  and  shamefastness 
said  unto  him  :  "  Let  me  go  in  peace.  I  know 
nought  of  that  thou  sayest."  Whereupon  he 
set  the  mantle  and  the  twelve  loaves  in  her 
hands.  But  she,  perceiving  that  he  spake  this 
in  very  sooth,  with  fear  and  reverence  received 
the  same  rejoicing  and  praising  the  Lord.  And 
fearing  lest  it  should  be  taken  away  from  her, 
she  arose  stealthily  by  night  and  went  back  to 
her  own  house  with  joy.  But  the  Blessed 
Francis  had  made  ordinance  with  his  warden 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

to  give  her  her  expenses  every  day  so  long  as 
she  abode  there. 

We  therefore  that  were  with  him  do  bear 
witness  of  him  that  so  great  was  his  charity 
and  pity  both  to  sick  and  heal,  not  only 
toward  his  brethren,  but  also  toward  other 
poor  folk  both  heal  and  sick,  that  those  neces 
saries  of  his  body  that  the  brethren  at  times 
did  procure  for  him  with  great  pains  and 
travail,  first  of  all  soothing  us  with  soft  words 
less  we  should  be  troubled  thereat,  with  much 
inward  as  well  as  outward  gladness  he  would 
give  unto  the  poor,  even  though  he  himself 
should  go  without  things  that  were  very 
necessary  for  him.  And  on  this  account  the 
Minister  General  and  his  own  warden  did 
enjoin  him  not  to  give  his  habit  to  any  of  the 
brethren  without  their  leave.  For  the  brethren 
of  their  devotion  toward  him  would  sometimes 
beg  a  habit  of  him  which  he  gave  them 
straightway,  and  sometimes  he  would  divide 
the  same,  giving  a  part  and  keeping  a  part 
himself,  forasmuch  as  he  never  wore  but  a 
single  habit. 

XXXIV.— How  he  gave  IT  thus  fell  out  that 
his  habit  to  the  brethren  on  a  time  when  he 
who  begged  it  for  the  love  was  going  through  a 
0  °  *  certain  province 

preaching,  two  Frenchborn  brethren  met  him, 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  after  that  they  had  had  much  consolation 
from  him,  at  last  they  begged  his  habit  of  him  for 
the  love  of  God.  But  he  forthwith,  so  soon  as 
he  heard  the  words  "  love  of  God,"  put  off  his 
habit  and  gave  it  unto  them,  himself  abiding 
naked  some  part  of  an  hour. 

For  whensoever  any  did  allege  the  love  of 
God  to  him,  whether  it  were  the  cord  where 
with  he  was  girded,  or  his  habit  or  aught  else 
that  were  asked,  he  never  denied  it  to  any  ; 
yea,  he  did  hereby  put  himself  to  sore  straits, 
and  oftentimes  would  he  rebuke  the  brethren 
for  that  on  account  of  almost  anything  what 
soever  they  would  take  the  name  of  "the 
love  of  God"  in  vain.  For  he  would  say:' 
"  So  passing  high  and  precious  is  the  love  of 
God,  that  never  ought  it  to  be  named  save  in 
seldom  times  of  necessity,  and  then  only  with 
great  reverence." 

But  one  of  those  brethren  did  put  off  his 
habit  and  gave  it  unto  him  in  like  manner. 
Whensoever  he  gave  his  habit  or  a  part  there 
of  to  another,  he  did  thereby  suffer  great 
necessity  and  tribulation  for  that  he  could  not 
have  another  habit  quickly  enough,  more 
especially  for  that  he  was  always  minded  to 
wear  a  poor  habit  pieced  together  with  patches 
sometimes  both  within  and  without  ;  yea, 
never  or  right  seldom  would  he  wear  a  habit 
of  new  cloth,  but  would  obtain  from  some 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

brother  his  habit  which  he  had  worn  for  some 
time.  And  at  times  he  would  even  accept 
one  part  of  his  habit  from  one  brother  and 
another  part  from  another.  On  the  inner  side, 
on  account  of  his  many  infirmities  and  chills 
of  the  stomach  and  the  spleen,  he  would  some 
times  patch  it  double  with  new  cloth.  And 
this  manner  of  poverty  in  his  raiment  did  he 
hold  and  observe  until  the  year  that  he  de 
parted  to  the  Lord ;  for  a  few  days  before  his 
death,  for  that  he  was  dropsical  and  as  it  were 
all  dried  up,  and  on  account  of  the  many 
other  infirmities  that  he  had,  the  brethren 
made  a  many  habits  for  him  for  that  of  neces 
sity  his  habit  had  to  be  changed  every  day  and 

XXXV.— How  he  was  ANOTHER  time  a 
minded  to  give  a  poor  certain  poor  man 
man  a  piece  of  cloth  by  came  to  the  place 

stealth*  where    the    Blessed 

Francis  was,  arid  asked  of  the  brethren  a  piece 
of  cloth  for  the  love  of  God.  Which  when  he 
heard,  the  Blessed  Francis  said  unto  one  of  the 
brethren:  "Make  search  through  the  house  and 
see  whether  thou  canst  find  a  piece  or  any  cloth 
and  give  the  same  unto  the  poor  man."  And 
the  brother  ran  all  over  the  house  and  said  he 
could  not  find  any. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

But  so  that  the  poor  brother  should  not  go 
back  empty-handed,  the  Blessed  Francis  went 
secretly  because  of  the  warden,  lest  he  should 
forbid  him,  and  took  a  knife,  and  sitting  down 
in  a  secret  place  began  to  cut  off  a  piece  of  his 
habit  that  was  sewn  on  the  inner  side,  mean 
ing  to  give  it  to  the  poor  man  secretly.  But 
the  warden  perceiving  the  same,  straightway 
went  to  him  and  forbade  him  to  give  it,  and 
the  more  for  that  the  cold  at  that  time  was 
great  and  he  himself  was  sick  and  exceeding 
cold.  Wherefore  the  Blessed  Francis  said 
unto  him  :  "  If  so  be  that  thou  wilt  I  should 
not  give  him  this  piece,  thou  must  by  all 
means  make  be  given  some  other  piece  to  our 
poor  brother."  And  so  the  brethren  gave  the 
poor  man  some  cloth  from  their  habits  at  the 
instance  of  the  Blessed  Francis. 

When  he  went  about  the  world  preaching, 
whether  he  were  afoot  or  on  an  ass  after  that 
he  began  to  be  sick,  or  on  horseback  in  very 
great  and  extreme  necessity,  for  otherwise 
would  he  not  ride,  and  this  but  a  little  before 
his  death,  if  it  were  that  any  brother  lent  him 
a  mantle,  he  would  only  accept  the  same  on 
such  condition  as  that  he  might  give  it  to  any 
poor  person  that  he  met  or  that  might  come 
unto  him,  so  only  that  his  spirit  should  bear 
witness  that  it  was  necessary  unto  him. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XXXVL— How  he  told  AT  the  outset 
Brother  Egidhis  to  clothe  of  the  Religion, 
thepoorman.  whije  he  wag 

sojourning  at  Rivo  Torto  with  two  com 
panions  that  were  all  he  had  as  at  that  time, 
behold  a  certain  man  by  name  Egidius,  that 
was  the  third  brother,  came  to  him  out  of 
the  world,  intending  to  take  upon  himself  his 
manner  of  life. 

And  what  time  he  thus  abode  there  for 
several  days  clad  in  the  garments  he  had 
brought  with  him  out  of  the  world,  it  came 
to  pass  that  a  certain  poor  man  came  to  that 
place  begging  an  alms  of  the  Blessed  Francis. 
The  Blessed  Francis  turning  him  to  this 
Egidius,  saith  unto  him  :  "  Give  the  poor 
brother  thy  mantle."  Who  forthwith  with 
great  gladness  took  it  off  his  shoulders  and 
gave  it  to  the  poor  man.  And  thereupon 
seemed  it  unto  him  that  straightway  God  had 
sent  new  grace  into  his  heart  for  that  he  had 
given  his  mantle  to  the  poor  man  with  cheer 
fulness.  And  thus  after  that  he  was  received 
by  the  Blessed  Francis  he  did  ever  make 
godly  progress  even  to  the  very  highest  per 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XXXVII.— Of  the  pen-  WHEN  the  Blessed 
ance  he  gave  a  brother  Francis  had  gone  for 
that  did  misdeem  of  a  tne  purpose  of 
poor  man,  preaching  to  a  cer 

tain  place  of  the  brethren  nigh  unto  Rocca 
Brizzi,  it  so  befell  that  on  the  very  day  that  he 
should  preach,  a  certain  poor  man  that  was  sick 
came  unto  him.  On  whom  having  much  com 
passion,  he  began  to  speak  to  his  companion 
about  his  poverty  and  sickness,  and  his  com 
panion  saith  unto  him  :  "  True  it  is,  brother, 
that  he  seemeth  poor  enow,  yet  haply  in  all  the 
province  is  none  that  hath  greater  will  to  be 

And  being  forthwith  sharply  rebuked  by 
the  Blessed  Francis  he  did  acknowledge  his 
fault.  And  the  Blessed  Francis  saith  :  "  Wilt 
thou  on  this  account  do  the  penance  that  I 
shall  enjoin  thee  ? "  Who  made  answer : 
"  Willingly  will  I  do  it."  And  he  said  unto 
him  :  a  Go  and  put  off  thy  habit  and  cast  thee 
down  naked  at  the  feet  of  the  poor  man  and 
tell  him  how  thou  hast  sinned  against  him  in 
disparaging  him  and  bid  him  that  he  pray  for 
thee."  He  went  therefore  and  did  all  things 
as  the  Blessed  Francis  had  bidden  him.  And 
after  that  he  had  so  done  he  rose  up  and  did 
on  his  habit  and  went  back  to  the  Blessed 
Francis.  And  the  Blessed  Francis  saith  unto 
him  :  "  Wouldst  thou  know  how  thou  didst 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

sin  against  him,  yea  rather,  against  Christ  ? 
When  thou  seest  a  poor  man,  thou  oughtest 
to  bethink  thee  of  Him  in  whose  name  he 
cometh,  to  wit,  Christ  that  did  take  upon 
Himself  our  poverty  and  infirmity,  for  his 
sickness  and  poverty  be  as  it  were  a  mirror 
unto  us  wherein  we  may  look  and  with  pity 
perceive  the  sickness  and  poverty  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ." 

XXXVIIL-Of  the  New  AT  another  time 
Testament  that  he  made  when  he  was  sojourn- 
be  given  to  a  poor  woman,  j  at  s>  M  of 
the  mother  of  two  i  T  •  ,1  r>  • 

brethren.  the    Llttle   Portlon' 

a  certain  woman 

old  and  poor  that  had  two  sons  in  the 
Religion  came  unto  the  place  begging  an 
alms  of  the  Blessed  Francis. 

Straightway  the  Blessed  Francis  said  to 
brother  Peter  of  Catana  that  was  then 
Minister  General  :  "  Can  we  have  aught  to 
give  this  woman  our  mother  ?  M  For  the 
mother  of  any  brother  would  he  call  his 
mother  and  mother  of  all  the  brethren. 
Brother  Peter  made  answer  unto  him  : 
"Nought  is  there  in  the  house  that  we  can 
give  her  ; "  for  she  would  fain  have  had  such 
alms  as  that  thereby  she  might  sustain  her  body. 
"Howbeit  in  the  church  we  have  one  only 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

New  Testament  wherein  we  read  the  lessons 
at  matins."  For  at  that  time  the  brethren 
had  no  breviaries  and  not  many  psalters. 

The  Blessed  Francis  therefore  said  unto 
him  :  "  Give  our  mother  the  Testament  so 
that  she  may  sell  it  for  her  necessity.  For 
firmly  do  I  believe  that  it  will  be  better 
pleasing  to  the  Lord  and  to  the  Blessed  Virgin 
than  if  we  should  read  therein."  And  so  he 
gave  it  her.  For  that  may  be  said  and 
written  of  him  which  is  read  in  the  blessed 
Job  :  "  For  pity  came  forth  from  his  mother's 
womb  and  did  with  him  wax  great." 

Whence  unto  us  that  were  with  him,  not 
only  those  things  that  we  have  understood 
from  others  as  concerning  his  charity  and 
pity  toward  the  brethren  and  other  poor  men, 
but  even  those  things  that  we  have  seen  with 
our  eyes,  full  long  would  it  be  and  full  uneath 
either  to  write  or  to  tell. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 


XXXIX,— And  first  how  THAT  he  might 
he  did  resign  the  office  of  observe  the  virtue  of 
superior  and  appointed  hol  humilit  some 
brother  Peter  of  Catana  f  J  /5  r 

Minister  General.  f,ew    years  .  after 

nis      conversion, 

in  a  certain  Chapter  before  the  brethren,  he 
did  resign  the  office  of  superior,  saying : 
"  Henceforward  am  I  dead  unto  you,  but  see 
here  brother  Peter  of  Catana,  unto  whom  I 
and  all  you  will  be  obedient."  And  prostrat 
ing  himself  upon  the  ground,  he  did  promise 
obedience  and  reverence  unto  him. 

All  the  brethren  wept  thereat,  and  exceeding 
great  sorrow  did  wring  forth  full  sore  lamen 
tation,  to  wit,  when  they  saw  themselves  in  a 
manner  made  orphans  to  so  great  a  father. 
But  the  blessed  father,  lifting  up  his  eyes 
toward  heaven  and  joining  his  hands,  said  : 
"  Lord,  unto  Thee  do  I  commend  the  family 
that  hitherto  Thou  hast  committed  unto  me. 
And  now,  O  Lord  most  sweet,  on  account  of 
those  infirmities  whereof  Thou  wottest,  being 
unable  to  have  the  care  thereof,  I  do  commend 
65  E 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

the  same  unto  the  ministers,  the  which  in  the 
day  of  judgment  shall  be  held  answerable 
before  Thee,  O  Lord,  in  case  any  brother 
shall  perish  through  their  negligence  or  evil 
ensample  or  too  harsh  correction." 

He  therefore  thenceforward  did  remain 
subject  even  unto  death,  more  humbly  bearing 
him  in  all  things  than  ever  a  one  of  the  others. 

XL.— How  he  gave  up  ANOTHER  time  he 
even  his  companions,  gave  up  all  his  corn- 
being  unwilling  to  have  a  panions  to  his  vicar, 
special  companion.  saying :  "  I  am  un 

willing  to  seem  singular  in  this  prerogative  of 
liberty,  that  I  should  have  a  special  companion, 
but  let  the  brethren  assign  me  a  companion  from 
place  to  place  as  the  Lord  shall  inspire  them." 
Then  he  added  :  "  I  saw  a  blind  man  just  now 
since  that  had  but  a  whelp  to  guide  him  on  his 
way,  and  fain  would  I  seem  no  better  off  than 
he."  For  this  was  always  his  glory,  that,  laying 
aside  all  singularity  and  appearance  of  boasting, 
the  virtue  of  Christ  did  ever  abide  in  him. 

XLL— That  he  did  re.  ONCE  when  he 
nounce  his  of f ice  by  reason  was  asked  by  a 
o£  bad  superiors.  certain  brother 

wherefore  he  had  cast  off  the  brethren  from 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

his  own  care,  and  delivered  them  into  strange 
hands,  as  though  they  did  in  no  wise  belong 
to  him,  he  made  answer  :  "  My  son,  I  do  love 
the  brethren  the  best  I  may,  but  and  if  they 
would  follow  my  footsteps,  verily,  then  should 
I  love  them  all  the  better,  nor  should  I  make 
me  strange  unto  them.  For  some  there 
be  among  the  number  of  the  superiors,  that 
do  draw  them  aside  to  other  things,  setting 
before  them  the  example  of  the  elders,  and 
holding  my  advice  as  of  little  account,  but 
that  which  they  themselves  do  and  how  they 
do  it  will  be  made  clearer  in  the  end." 

And  a  little  afterward,  when  he  was  weighed 
down  by  exceeding  infirmity,  in  the  vehemence 
of  his  spirit,  he  sate  him  upright  in  his  pallet, 
crying  out  and  saying  :  "  Who  be  they  that 
have  snatched  my  Religion  and  my  brethren 
from  my  hands  ?  If  I  come  to  the  General 
Chapter,  I  will  show  them  of  what  kind  is 
my  will  !  " 

XLIL— That  he  did  hum-  THE  Blessed  Francis 

bly  procure  flesh-meats  for  was  not  ashamed  to 

the  sick  and  monished  obtain      flesh_meats 

them  to  be  patient.  for    a    ^    brother 

among  the  public  places  of  the  cities,  but  he  did 
admonish  them  that  lay  sick  to  bear  any  defi 
ciency  therein   patiently,  and  not  to  get   up 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

and  make  a  grievance  thereof  whenever  they 
could  not  "be  fully  satisfied.  Whence  in  the 
first  Rule  he  made  be  written  thus  :  "  I 
beseech  my  brethren  that  in  their  infirmities 
they  be  not  wrath  nor  troubled  either  against 
God  or  against  the  brethren,  and  that  they  be 
not  too  solicitous  to  ask  for  medicines,  nor  too 
desirous  to  relieve  this  flesh  that  so  soon  must 
die,  which  is  the  enemy  of  the  soul,  but  that 
they  give  thanks  for  all  things  and  desire  to  be 
such  as  God  would  have  them  be,  for  them 
that  God  hath  fore-ordained  unto  eternal  life 
He  teacheth  by  the  stings  of  scourges  and 
infirmities,  even  as  He  himself  saith  :  *  Them 
that  I  love  do  I  rebuke  and  chasten.' " 

XLIIL— Of  the  humble  IN  the  city  of  Rome 
answer  of  the  Blessed  what  time  those  two 
Francis  and  Dominic  when  bright  guiding- 
they  were  questioned  to.  {{  htg  of  the  WQrld 
gether  by  the  Cardinal  as  .  .  r>i 

So  whether  they  would  £  wlt>.  the  jessed 
that  their  brethren  should  *  ™ncis  and  the 
be  prelates  in  the  Church,  Blessed  Dominic, 

were  both   together 

before  the  Lord  Bishop  of  Ostia,  that  was 
afterward  High  PontifF,  and  each  in  turn 
did  pour  forth  words  of  God  as  it  were 
streams  of  honey,  at  the  last  the  Lord 
Cardinal  said  unto  them  :  "  In  the  primitive 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Church,  the  pastors  and  prelates  were  poor 
men,  glowing  with  the  fervour  of  chanty 
and  not  of  covetousness.  Wherefore  then 
do  we  not  make  of  your  brethren  bishops  and 
prelates  that  should  prevail  over  all  other  both 
in  word  and  ensample  ?  " 

Then  arose  between  the  Saints  a  humble 
and  devout  contention  as  to  which  should 
first  make  answer,  not  indeed  a  conten 
tion  of  precedence,  but  of  deference  on  both 
sides,  as  if  one  should  compel  the  other  to 
make  answer.  But  at  length,  the  humility 
of  Francis  did  win  the  victory  that  he  should 
not  be  first  to  speak,  and  was  victorious  also 
over  Dominic  in  that  he  did  humbly  obey  by 
being  the  first  to  make  answer. 

The  Blessed  Dominic,  therefore,  said  in 
answer  :  "  My  lord,  verily,  unto  high  degree 
have  my  brethren  been  promoted  if  they 
would  fain  be  learned  in  this  matter  ;  and  so 
far  as  in  me  lieth,  never  will  I  allow  that  they 
should  obtain  any  high  place  of  dignity." 

Then  the  Blessed  Francis,  bowing  himself 
before  the  said  Lord  Cardinal,  made  answer  : 
"My  lord,  my  brethren  be  called  brethren 
Minor,  with  the  intent  that  they  should  not 
presume  to  become  brethren  Major,  for  their 
calling  teacheth  them  to  stand  all  on  a  level, 
and  to  follow  the  footsteps  of  Christ's 
humility,  so  that  hereby  they  may  at  last  be 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

exalted  above  others  in  regard  to  the  Saints. 
Wherefore,  and  you  would  that  they  should 
bring  forth  fruit  in  the  Church  of  God,  hold 
them  and  keep  them  in  the  condition  of  their 
calling,  and  if  it  be  that  they  shall  climb  up 
on  high,  thrust  them  down  by  force  into  the 
plain,  and  never  allow  them  to  rise  up  to  any 

These  were  the  answers  of  the  holy  men, 
and  when  the  replies  on  both  sides  were  ended, 
the  Lord  Bishop  of  Ostia,  greatly  edified 
thereby,  did  give  exceeding  great  thanks  to 

And  as  the  twain  departed  together,  the 
Blessed  Dominic  begged  the  Blessed  Francis" 
that  he  would  deign  to  give  him  the  cord 
wherewith  he  was  girded.  The  Blessed 
Francis  did  out  of  humility  refuse,  even  as 
the  other  had  begged  it  out  of  charity.  But 
the  happy  devotion  of  him  that  asked  did  win 
the  day,  and  the  cord  of  the  Blessed  Francis 
that  he  received  as  by  violence  of  charity,  did 
the  Blessed  Dominic  gird  on  under  his  habit, 
and  ever  thereafter  did  devoutly  wear. 

At  length  the  one  did  place  his  hands 
between  the  hands  of  the  other,  and  each  did 
most  sweetly  commend  him  to  each  in  mutual 
farewell  greeting.  And  S.  Dominic  said 
unto  S.  Francis :  "  Brother  Francis,  I  would 
that  thy  Religion  and  mine  should  be  made 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

one,  and  that  we  should  live  in  the  Church 
under  equal  conditions."  At  last,  when  they 
parted  asunder,  the  one  from  the  other,  the 
Blessed  Dominic  said  unto  many  of  them 
that  stood  by  :  "  Of  a  truth  I  say  unto  you 
that  all  the  Religious  ought  to  imitate  this 
holy  man  Francis,  so  absolute  is  the  perfection 
of  his  holiness." 

XLIV.  -That,  as  a  fotm-  FROM  the  beginning 
dation  of  humility,  he  of  his  conversion 
would  that  all  the  brethren  the  Blessed  Francis 


tte°t  ers!         "™*  bX    G°d'S 

ance,    as    a    wise 

builder,  did  lay  his  foundations  upon  a  firm 
rock,  to  wit,  upon  the  exceeding  great 
humility  and  poverty  of  the  Son  of  God, 
calling  his  Religion  that  of  brethren  Minor 
out  of  his  passing  humility.  Whence,  at  the 
beginning  of  the  Religion,  he  would  that  the 
brethren  should  abide  in  the  hospitals  of  the 
lepers  to  wait  upon  them,  and  there  lay  the 
foundation  of  holy  humility.  For  sithence 
that  both  gentle  and  simple  did  come  into 
the  Order,  among  other  things  that  were 
declared  unto  them,  it  was^  said  that  needs 
must  they  humbly  be  as  servants  unto  the 
lepers  and  abide  in  their  houses  ;  as  is  con 
tained  in  the  first  Rule  :  "  Willing  to  have 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

nought  under  heaven  save  only  holy  poverty, 
whereby  they  are  nourished  in  this  world  by 
bodily  and  spiritual  food,  and  in  the  world  to 
come  shall  obtain  their  heavenly  heritage." 
And  thus  did  he  found  himself,  both  for 
himself  and  for  others,  upon  an  exceeding 
great  humility  and  poverty,  forasmuch  as 
being  one  of  most  account  in  the  Church  of 
God,  he  did  choose  and  will  to  be  an  underling 
not  only  in  the  Church  but  even  among  his 
brethren.  May  this  lowliness  in  his  thought 
and  his  desire  be  his  highest  exaltation  in  the 
sight  of  God  and  man  ! 

XLVT.-That  o£  all  his  WHEN  he  preached 

good  words  and  works  he  to    the   people  in 

would    that    the    honour  Rieti   in  the  piazza 

should  be  attributed  to  God  of  ^  ^  SQ  soQn 

as   his  preaching 

was  ended,  forthwith  rose  up  the  Bishop  of  the 
city,  a  man  verily  discreet  and  spiritual,  and 
saith  unto  the  people  :  "Our  Lord  from  the 
beginning  sithence  that  He  planted  and  builded 
up  His  Church,  hath  ever  enlumined  her  by 
holy  men  that  by  word  and  ensample  might 
cause  her  to  flourish,  wherefore  now  in  this 
last  hour  hath  He  enlumined  her  by  this  poor 
and  despised  and  unlettered  man  Francis. 
And  for  this  be  ye  bound  to  love  and  worship 

Saint  Francis  of  Asstsl 

the  Lord,  and  to  take  heed  that  ye  sin  not,  for 
not  on  such  wise  dealeth  He  with  every  nation." 

And  when  he  had  made  an  end  of  these 
words,  the  Bishop  came  down  from  the  place 
where  he  had  been  preaching,  and  went  into 
the  church  of  the  bishopric.  Unto  whom 
the  Blessed  Francis  drawing  nigh,  did  bow 
himself  before  him,  falling  at  his  feet,  and 
said :  "  In  truth  I  say  unto  you,  my  lord 
Bishop,  that  no  man  hath  ever  done  me  so 
great  honour  in  this  world  as  have  you  this 
day,  for  others  say  :  c  This  is  a  holy  man,' 
attributing  the  glory  and  the  holiness  to  me, 
and  not  to  the  Creator,  but  you, as  he  that  is  dis 
creet,  have  separated  the  precious  from  the  vile." 

For  when  the  Blessed  Francis  was  praised 
and  said  to  be  a  saint,  he  made  answer  unto 
such  discourses,  saying  :  "  As  yet  feel  I  no 
assurance  I  may  not  fall  away  and  have  sons  and 
daughters,  for  in  whatsoever  hour  the  Lord 
should  take  away  from  me  His  treasure  that 
He  hath  commended  unto  me,  what  else  would 
remain  unto  me  save  only  body  and  soul  that 
even  infidels  have  ?  Yea,  rather  ought  I  to 
believe  that,  if  the  Lord  had  granted  to  a  robber 
or  a  paynim  so  great  blessings  as  He  hath  unto 
me,  more  faithful  than  I  would  they  have  been 
unto  the  Lord.  For,  whereas  in  a  picture  of 
the  Lord  and  the  Blessed  Virgin  painted  upon 
wood  the  Lord  is  honoured  and  the  Blessed 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Virgin  also,  yet  natheless  do  not  the  wood 
and  the  painting  attribute  aught  unto  them 
selves.  And  in  likewise  is  the  servant  of  God 
in  some  sort  a  picture  of  God,  wherein  God 
is  honoured  by  reason  of  His  goodness,  yet 
ought  he  to  attribute  nought  as  unto  himself, 
inasmuch  as  in  the  sight  of  God  less  is  he 
than  the  wood  and  the  picture  ;  yea,  he  is 
stark  nought.  Wherefore  unto  God  alone  is 
the  glory  and  the  honour  to  be  rendered,  but 
unto  himself  only  shame  and  tribulation  so 
long  as  he  liveth  in  the  midst  of  the  miseries 
of  this  world." 

XLVL— That  even  until  BEING  minded  to 
his  death  he  was  fain  to  persevere  even  to  the 
have  one  o£  his  com'  death  in  perfect  hu- 
panions  as  warden,  and  to  mjijty  and  subjec- 
live  in  subjection.  tion,  long  before 

his  death  he  said  unto  the  Minister  General : 
"  I  would  that  thou  shouldst  commit  thy 
wardership  over  me  to  one  of  my  companions, 
whom  I  may  obey  in  thy  stead,  for  such  is  the 
benefit  of  obedience  that  I  would  thou  shouldst 
ever  abide  with  me,  both  in  life  and  death." 

And   thenceforward,  even   unto  his  death, 

had  he  one  of  his  companions  as  his  warden, 

whom  he  did  obey  in  the  stead  of  the  Minister 

General.     Yea,  on  a   time  he   said   unto  his 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

companions  :  u  This  grace  among  others 
hath  the  Lord  conferred  upon  me,  that  I 
would  as  diligently  obey  a  novice  that  hath 
only  to-day  entered  Religion,  had  he  been 
assigned  me  for  my  warden,  as  him  that  is 
foremost  and  ancient  in  life  and  in  the  Reli 
gion.  For  he  that  is  subject  ought  not  to 
look  upon  him  that  is  set  over  him  as  a  man, 
but  as  God,  for  whose  sake  he  is  made  subject 
unto  him." 

Afterwards  he  said  :  "  None  having  autho 
rity  is  there  in  all  the  world  that  is  so  feared 
by  his  subjects,  as  the  Lord  would  make  me 
be  feared,  if  so  I  would,  by  my  brethren.  But 
this  grace  hath  the  Lord  granted  me,  that  I 
am  minded  to  be  content  with  all,  as  he  that 
is  Minor  in  Religion." 

But  we  that  were  with  him  have  seen  this 
with  our  eyes,  even  as  he  that  doth  here  bear 
witness  how,  when  certain  of  the  brethren  did 
not  satisfy  him  in  his  necessities,  or  said  some 
word  to  him  such  as  a  man  is  apt  to  be  offended 
thereat,  straightway  he  went  to  prayer,  and 
when  he  came  back  he  was  unwilling  to 
remember  him  of  aught,  nor  ever  did  he  say  : 
"Such  an  one  hath  not  satisfied  me,"  or 
"  Such  an  one  spake  unto  me  such  a  word." 
And  thus  persevering  in  such  wise,  the  nearer 
he  drew  nigh  unto  death,  by  so  much  the 
more  was  he  heedful  to  consider  how  best  he 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

could  live  and  die  in  all  humility  and  poverty 
and  in  all  perfection  of  virtues. 

XLVIL-Of  the  perfect  THE  most  holy 
manner  of  obedience  that  father  would 
he  taught*  ,  . 

say     unto      his 

brethren:  ':cMy  best-beloved  brethren,  fulfil 
my  injunction  at  the  first  word,  and  wait  not 
for  what  is  said  unto  you  to  be  repeated. 
Argue  not  nor  be  ye  judges  of  the  injunction, 
for  nought  is  there  impossible  therein,  seeing 
that,  even  if  it  were  that  I  should  command 
you  aught  beyond  your  strength,  yet  holy 
obedience  will  never  be  lacking  in  strength." 

XLVIIL-How  he  spake  ON  a  time  this  was 
f  the  perfectly  obedient  what  he  si  hed  forth 

d"a d^boJ;  ^  °f  '      before    his    com- 

panions  :  "  Scarce  is 

there  one  Religious  in  the  world  that  doth 
rightly  obey  his  superior." 

Straightway  the  companions  said  unto  him  : 
;<  Tell  us,  father,  what  is  the  perfect  and  the 
highest  obedience?"  And  he,  by  way  of 
answer,  described  one  truly  and  perfectly 
obedient  under  the  figure  of  a  dead  man,  as 
thus  :  "  Take  a  lifeless  body  and  set  it  where 
you  please.  Ye  will  see  that  it  resenteth  not 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

being  moved,  nor  changeth  its  position,  nor 
crieth  out  when  it  is  let  go.  If  that  it  be  set 
upon  a  throne,  it  looketh  not  toward  the 
highest,  but  the  lowest.  If  it  be  clad  in 
purple,  then  is  it  doubly  wan.  This  is  the 
truly  obedient,  that  asketh  no  question  where 
fore  he  should  be  moved,  careth  not  where  he 
is  placed,  urgeth  not  that  he  should  be  changed 
elsewhither.  Promoted  to  office,  he  holdeth  his 
wonted  humility ;  and  the  more  he  is  honoured, 
the  more  he  thinketh  him  unworthy." 

Obediences  purely  and  simply  enjoined,  not 
asked  for,  he  called  holy  obedience.  But  the 
highest  obedience,  the  obedience  wherein  flesh 
and  blood  have  nought  of  their  own,  he  believed 
to  be  that  wherein,  by  divine  inspiration,  men 
do  go  among  the  infidels  either  for  the  profit 
of  their  neighbours  or  for  the  desire  of  martyr 
dom,  yea,  and  to  ask  for  this  obedience  he 
deemed  to  be  right  acceptable  unto  God. 

XLIX.— That  it  is  a  peril-  THE  blessed  father 
ous  thing  too  lightly  to  thought  it  seldom  ad- 
order  a  brother  to  do  aught  yisable  that  an  order 
on  his  obedience,"  and  should  bg  .n  tQ  a 
also  not  to  obey  an  order  ,  ,  ,  . 

thus  given.  Bother    «on   his 

obedience,    for  that 

a  weapon  to  be  used   only  in  a  last  necessity 

ought  not  to  be  launched  in  the  first  instance. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

"The  hand,"  saith  he,  "should  not  be  too  ready 
to  grasp  the  sword."  On  the  other  hand,  he 
would  say :  "  He  that  hasteneth  not  to  obey 
an  order  given  on  his  obedience  neither  feareth 
God  nor  reverenceth  man,"  so  long,  to  wit, 
as  he  hath  no  necessary  cause  for  tarrying. 

Nought  is  more  true,  for  what  else  is  the 
power  of  command  in  one  that  giveth  order 
rashly  but  a  sword  in  the  hand  of  a  madman  ? 
And  again,  what  case  is  more  hopeless  than 
that  of  a  Religious  who  doth  neglect  and 
despise  his  obedience  ? 

L. — How  he  made  answer  CERTAIN   of  the  *• 

to  the  brethren  that  would  brethren    said    unto 

persuade  him  to  petition  the  Blessed  Francis  : 

for  a  privilege  that  they  «Fath  seest  thou 
might  beallowedto  preach  >  fi 


at  times  do  not  allow 

us  to  preach,  and  many  days  do  they  make  us 
stand  idle  in  a  district  or  ever  we  be  able  to 
announce  the  word  of  the  Lord.  Better  were 
it  that  thou  shouldst  obtain  from  the  lord  Pope 
a  privilege  in  this  matter,  seeing  that  it  would 
be  for  the  salvation  of  souls." 

Unto  whom  he  made  answer  rebuking  them 

sore,  and   saying  :   "  Ye  brethren  Minor,  ye 

know  not  the  will  of  God,  nor  will  ye  allow 

me  to  convert  the  whole  world  as  God  willeth ; 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

for  I  am  minded  first  of  all  to  convert  the 
prelates  by  holy  humility  and  reverence,  so 
that  when  they  shall  see  our  holy  life  and  our 
humble  reverence  toward  them,  they  shall  ask 
you  to  preach  and  convert  the  people,  and  call 
them  together  to  hear  your  preaching  better 
than  your  privileges  that  will  only  lead  you 
on  to  pride.  And  if  it  be  that  ye  hold  ye 
aloof  from  all  covetousness  and  persuade  the 
people  to  render  the  churches  their  due,  they 
themselves  will  beseech  you  to  hear  the  con 
fessions  of  their  people,  albeit  hereof  ought  ye 
to  take  no  heed,  inasmuch  as  so  only  they  be 
converted  they  will  right  eath  find  confessors 
for  themselves. 

"As  for  me,  I  am  fain  to  have  this  privi 
lege  of  the  Lord,  that  never  may  I  have  any 
privilege  from  man,  save  only  the  privilege  to 
do  reverence  unto  all,  and  to  convert  mankind 
through  obedience  to  our  holy  Rule  rather  by 
ensample  than  by  word." 

LL— Of  the  manner  that  THE  Blessed  Francis 
all  the  brethren  then  held  did  maintain  that  the 
in  reconciling  them  one  to  brethren  Minor  were 
another  whensoever  one  r  .  u  T  j  • 

should  have  given  offence  SC,nt  °f,  the  ****  m 
to  another,  these  last  days  to 

show    ensamples    of 

life  to  them  that  were  covered  round  about 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

by  the  darkness  of  their  sins.  He  would  say 
that  he  was  fulfilled  of  the  sweetest  smells  and 
anointed  with  the  virtue  of  precious  ointment 
whensoever  he  heard  the  brave  deeds  of  the 
holy  brethren  that  were  scattered  about  the 

One  day  it  fell  out  that  a  certain  brother 
did  fling  forth  words  of  insult  against  another 
in  the  presence  of  a  nobleman  of  the  island  of 
Cyprus.  But  when  he  that  did  this  perceived 
that  his  brother  was  somewht  troubled  thereby, 
he  was  forthwith  seized  with  such  desire  to 
do  vengeance  on  himself  that  he  took  of  the 
dung  of  an  ass  and  did  thrust  the  same  into 
his  own  mouth,  grinding  it  with  his  teeth, 
and  saying  :  "  Eat  thou  of  the  dung,  thou 
tongue  that  didst  shed  the  venom  of  wrath 
upon  my  brother."  But  when  the  nobleman 
saw  him  do  thus,  he  was  stricken  with  amaze 
ment  and  went  his  way  greatly'  edified,  and 
from  that  time  forth  did  dispose  himself  and 
all  that  he  had  according  to  the  will  of  the 

This  therefore  did  all  the  brethren  observe 
as  of  wont,  that  if  one  of  them  had  uttered  a 
word  of  injury  or  offence  against  another,  he 
did  straightway  without  tarrying  prostrate 
him  on  the  ground  and  kiss  the  foot  of  him 
he  had  offended  and  did  humbly  ask  his 
pardon.  The  holy  father  did  exult  in  such 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

things  whensoever  he  heard  that  his  sons  did 
of  themselves  show  forth  ensamples  of  holiness, 
and  did  load  those  brethren  with  blessings 
most  worthy  of  all  acceptation  that  did  in 
word  or  work  bring  sinners  to  the  love  of 
Christ,  for  in  the  zeal  for  souls  wherewith  he 
himself  was  wholly  fulfilled  he  would  that  his 
sons  should  show  them  true  by  their  likeness 
to  himself. 

LIL-How  Christ  did      ON  a  time  our  Lord 
make  complaint  to  Brother      Jesus     Christ      said 
Leo,  the  companion  of  the      unto    brother     L 
Blessed  Francis,  as    con*      .,  .  ' 

cerningtheingratitudeand  Je  Companion  of 
pride  of  the  brethren.  the  Blessed  Fran 

cis  :  "  Brother  Leo, 

I  lament  over  the  brethren."  Unto  whom 
brother  Leo  made  answer  :  u  Wherefore, 
Lord  ?  "  And  the  Lord  answered  :  "  For 
three  things :  to  wit,  that  they  acknow 
ledge  not  my  blessings  that  I  do  so  largely 
and  bountifully  confer  upon  them,  as  thou 
knowest,  albeit  they  sow  not  neither  do  they 
reap.  Also  for  that  all  day  do  they  murmur 
and  are  idle,  and  also  for  that  they  do  oftentimes 
provoke  one  another  to  wrath  and  return  not 
to  their  love  and  forgive  not  the  injury  they 
have  received." 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

LHL— How  he  made  an*  WHILST  that  he  was 

swer  humbly  and  truly  to  abiding  at  Siena, 

a   certain   doctor   of    the  there  came  unto  him 

Order   of   Preachers  that  a   C£rtain   doctor   of 

did  ask  him  concerning  a  d    theol            of 

word  of  Scripture.  ~ 

the     Order     of 

Preachers,  a  man  truly  humble  and  right 
spiritual.  And  when  he  and  the  Blessed 
Francis  had  discoursed  together  for  some 
little  time  on  the  words  of  the  Lord,  the 
master  asked  of  him  concerning  that  word 
of  Ezekiel :  "  If  thou  speakest  not  to  warn 
the  wicked  from  his  wicked  way,  his  soul 
will  I  require  at  thine  hand."  For  he  said : 
"Many,  good  father,  do  I  know  that  be*» 
in  mortal  sin,  unto  whom  I  speak  not  to  warn 
them  from  their  wicked  way.  Will  their 
souls  be  required  at  my  hand  ?  " 

Unto  whom  the  Blessed  Francis  humbly 
said  that  he  was  a  simple  man  and  that  there 
fore  it  was  needful  rather  that  he  should  be 
taught  of  him  than  that  he  should  make 
answer  as  to  the  meaning  of  the  Scrip 
ture.  Whereupon  the  master  added  humbly  : 
"  Brother,  albeit  that  I  have  heard  of  sundry 
wise  men  the  exposition  of  this  word,  yet 
gladly  would  I  learn  your  understanding 
hereof."  The  Blessed  Francis  said  therefore  : 
"If  it  be  that  the  word  is  to  be  understood 
generally,  I  take  it  in  such  wise  as  that  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

servant  ot  God  ought  so  to  burn  and  shine  in 
his  life  and  holiness  in  himself  as  by  the 
ensample  of  his  light  and  by  the  tongue  ot 
his  holy  conversation  he  may  be  a  rebuke 
unto  all  the  wicked.  Thus,  I  say,  the  bright 
ness  of  his  light  and  the  sweet  smell  of  his 
good  name  will  be  a  warning  to  all  to  forsake 
their  wicked  way." 

The  doctor,  therefore,  very  greatly  edified, 
at  his  departure  thence  said  unto  the  com 
panions  of  the  Blessed  Francis  :  "My  brethren, 
the  theology  of  this  man,  upborne  by  purity 
and  contemplation,  is  as  a  flying  eagle,  but  our 
learning  doth  crawl  upon  'its  belly  over  the 

LIV.— Of  humility  and  ALBEIT  the  Blessed 
keeping  peace  with  the  Francis  would  that 
dergy*  his  sons  should  be 

at  peace  with  all  men,  and  behave  them  as 
little  ones  to  the  whole  world,  yet  did  he 
teach  them  by  word  and  show  them  by  en- 
sample  that  they  should  be  more  especially 
humble  towards  the  clergy. 

For  he  would  say  :  "  We  are  sent  to  suc 
cour  the  clergy  for  the  salvation  of  souls  and 
whatsoever  in  them  is  found  wanting  should 
be  supplied  by  us.  But  let  each  receive  his 
wages  not  according  to  the  authority  he  holdeth, 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

but  according  to  the  work  he  doeth.  Know 
ye  this,  brethren,  that  the  gain  of  souls  is 
most  grateful  unto  God,  and  this  gain  we 
can  better  make  with  the  peace  of  the  clergy 
than  by  being  at  discordance  with  them.  But 
if  they  hinder  the  salvation  of  the  people, 
vengeance  is  God's  and  He  will  repay  them 
in  due  time,  wherefore  be  ye  subject  unto 
your  superiors  and  take  heed  as  far  as  in  you 
lieth  that  no  evil  jealousy  arise  between  you. 
If  ye  be  sons  of  peace,  ye  shall  win  both 
clergy  and  people,  and  this  is  more  acceptable 
unto  God  than  to  win  the  people  only  and  to 
scandalise  the  clergy.  "Cover,"  saith  he, 
"  their  slips,  and  supply  their  many  defects  ;* 
and  when  ye  have  done  this  be  ye  therefore 
yourselves  the  more  humble." 

LV.— How  he  did  humbly  THE  Blessed  Fran- 
acquire  the  church  of  cis,  seeing  that  it 
S*  Mary  of  the  Angels  of  was  tne  wiH  of 
the  Abbot  of  S.  Benedict  Qod  to  multiply 
of  Assisi,  and  would  that  tfae  number  of  the 
the  brethren  should  ever;  fe  fa  said  unto 
more  humbly  dwell  ^  .  J  ^ 

beloved  brethren 

and  little    sons,  I   see  that  it  is  the    Lord's 

will     to     multiply    us,    whence    seemeth    it 

unto   me  a   good    and    godly  thing    that  we 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

should  acquire,  either  from  the  canons  of 
S.  Rufinus  or  from  the  Abbot  of  S.  Benedict, 
some  church  wherein  the  brethren  may  say 
their  Hours,  and  only  have  anigh  thereunto 
some  poor  little  house  builded  of  wattle  and 
dab  wherein  the  brethren  may  rest  and  work, 
for  this  place  is  not  decent,  neither  is  it  large 
enow  for  the  brethren  now  that  it  is  the  Lord's 
will  to  multiply  them,  and  more  especially 
for  that  we  have  no  church  here  wherein  the 
brethren  may  say  their  Hours.  And  if  any 
brother  should  die,  it  would  not  be  decent  to 
bury  him  here,  nor  in  the  church  of  the 
secular  clergy."  And  this  speech  was  pleasing 
unto  all  the  brethren. 

He  went  therefore  unto  the  Bishop  of 
Assisi  and  propounded  the  words  aforesaid  in 
his  presence.  Unto  whom  said  the  Bishop  : 
"  Brother,  no  church  have  I  that  I  am  able  to 
give  you."  And  the  canons  made  answer  the 

Then  went  he  to  the  Abbot  of  S.  Benedict 
of  Mount  Subasio,  and  propounded  unto  him 
the  same  words.  But  the  Abbot,  moved  to 
pity,  took  counsel  with  his  monks,  and,  by  the 
working  of  the  divine  grace  and  will,  granted 
unto  the  Blessed  Francis  and  his  brethren 
the  church  of  the  Blessed  Mary  of  the  Little 
Portion,  as  the  smallest  and  poorest  of  all  the 
churches  they  had.  And  saith  the  Abbot 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

unto  the  Blessed  Francis :  "  Behold,  brother,  '< 
we    have    granted    that    thou    didst    demand. 
But  if  it  be  that  the  Lord  shall  multiply  this 
your  congregation,  we  would  that  this  place 
should  be  the  head  of  all  your  places." 

And  this  speech  pleased  the  Blessed  Francis 
and  his  brethren,  and  the  Blessed  Francis  did   . 
rejoice  exceedingly  over  the  place  that  had 
been  granted  to  the  brethren,  and  most  of  all  for 
that  the  name  of  the  church  was  that  of  the 
Mother  of  Christ,  and  for  that  it  was  so  small 
and  poor  a  church,  and,  moreover,  for  that  it 
was  named  "  of  the  Little  Portion,"  wherein   j 
it  was  prefigured  that  it  should   be  the  head  J 
and  mother  of  the  poor  brethren  Minor.     For 
it  was  called  "  the  Little  Portion "  inasmuch 
as  the  courtyard  had  been  named  of  old  the 
Little  Portion. 

Whence  the  Blessed  Francis  said:  "There 
fore  did  the  Lord  will  that  none  other  church 
should  be  granted  unto  the  brethren,  and  that 
the  first  brethren  at  that  time  should  not  build 
a  church  of  new,  nor  should  have  none  other 
but  this,  forasmuch  as  herein  was  fulfilled  a 
certain  prophecy  through  the  advent  of  the 
brethren  Minor."  And  albeit  it  were  poor, 
and  is  now  destroyed,  natheless  of  a  long  time 
did  the  men  of  the  city  of  Assisi  and  of  all  the 
lordship  thereof  have  great  devotion  unto  that 
church,  and  greater  yet  have  they  to-day,  and 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

their  devotion  waxeth  daily.  Wherefore 
straightway,  so  soon  as  the  brethren  went 
thither  to  abide,  the  Lord  did  multiply  their 
number  day  by  day,  and  the  sweet  smell  of 
their  good  name  was  marvellously  spread 
abroad  throughout  all  the  Vale  of  Spoleto  and 
through  many  parts  of  the  world.  But  afore 
time  it  was  called  S.  Mary  of  the  Angels,  for 
that,  as  it  is  said,  the  songs  of  angels  were 
oftentimes  heard  there. 

And  albeit  the  Abbot  and  monks  did  freely 
grant  the  same  to  the  Blessed  Francis  and  his 
brethren,  yet  did  the  Blessed  Francis,  as  a 
wise  and  thrifty  master,  being  minded  that 
his  house,  to  wit,  the  Religion,  should  be 
founded  upon  a  firm  rock,  that  is,  upon  an 
exceeding  great  poverty,  send  yearly  to  the 
said  Abbot  and  his  monks  a  basket-full  of  the 
little  fishes  that  be  called  roaches  yearly  in  token 
of  great  humility  and  poverty,  for  that  the 
brethren  had  no  place  of  their  own,  nor  abode 
in  any  that  was  not  in  the  demesne  of  some 
or  other  in  such  sort  as  that  the  brethren 
never  had  even  the  power  of  alienating  the 
same  in  any  manner.  But  when  the  brethren 
carried  the  little  fishes  to  the  monks  yearly, 
they,  by  reason  of  the  humility  of  the  Blessed 
Francis  that  did  this  of  his  own  free  will, 
gave  them  a  vessel  full  of  oil. 

But  we  that  were  with  the  Blessed  Francis 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

do  bear  witness  that  he  himself,  with  affirma 
tion  of  the  word,  did  say  of  that  church  that 
therein  was  it  revealed  unto  him — for  many 
were  the  prerogatives  that  the  Lord  did  there 
make  manifest  unto  him — that,  among  all  the 
churches  of  the  world  that  the  Blessed  Virgin 
loved,  none  loved  she  with  so  abounding  an 
affection  as  this.  And  on  this  account  thence 
forth  had  he  the  greatest  reverence  and  devo 
tion  toward  it,  and,  that  the  brethren  might 
always  have  the  memorial  thereof  in  their 
hearts,  at  his  death  he  made  be  written  in  his 
will  that  all  the  brethren  should  do  likewise. 

For,  about  the  time  of  his  death,  in  the 
presence  of  the  Minister  General  and  others 
of  the  brethren,  he  said:  "The  place  of 
S.  Mary  of  the  Little  Portion  I  am  minded 
to  devise  and  leave  to  the  brethren  by  will,  so 
that  it  may  be  held  by  the  brethren  in  the 
greatest  devotion  and  reverence." 

The  which,  indeed,  our  ancient  brethren 
did,  for  albeit  the  place  were  holy  and  pre- 
elect  by  Christ  and  the  Glorious  Virgin, 
yet  did  they  preserve  the  holiness  thereof  by 
continual  prayer  and  silence  by  day  and  night. 
And  if  at  times  they  did  talk  after  the  term 
and  establishment  of  the  silence,  they  spake 
only  with  the  greatest  devotion  and  decency 
of  things  pertaining  unto  the  praise  of  God 
and  the  salvation  of  souls.  And  if  so  it  hap- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

pened  that  any  should  begin  to  speak  idle  and 
useless  words,  albeit  it  was  seldom  that  this 
did  befall,  forthwith  was  he  corrected  by 
another  brother. 

Moreover,  they  did  macerate  their  flesh  by 
many  fastings,  by  cold  and  nakedness,  and  by 
the  labour  of  their  hands.  For  many  a  time, 
to  the  intent  that  they  might  not  stand  idle, 
would  they  help  poor  men  in  their  fields  that 
did  afterwards  give  them  of  their  bread  for  the 
love  of  God.  By  these  and  other  good  deeds 
did  they  hallow  the  place  and  maintain  them 
selves  in  holiness.  But  thereafter,  by  occasion 
of  the  brethren  and  of  seculars  assembling 
together  to  that  place  more  than  they  had 
been  wont,  for  that  even  the  brethren  be 
colder  in  prayer  and  in  godly  works  and  more 
lax,  even  to  joining  in  idle  talk  and  discourse 
of  the  news  of  this  world,  than  they  were 
wont  to  be,  the  place  itself  is  not  held  in  so 
great  reverence  and  devotion  as  heretofore  it 
wont  to  be,  and  as  the  first  brethren  would. 

When  the  Blessed  Francis  had  spoken  these 
words,  forthwith  he  made  an  end  thereof  with 
great  fervour,  saying  :  "  I  will,  therefore,  that 
this  place  be  always  immediately  under  the 
power  of  the  minister  and  servant  General,  to 
the  intent  that  thence  he  may  have  the  greater 
care  and  solicitude  in  providing  therein  for  a 
good  and  holy  family.  Let  clerks  be  chosen 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

of  the  better  and  more  holy  and  more  honour 
able  of  the  brethren,  and  such  as  are  in  the 
whole  Religion  they  that  know  best  how  to 
say  the  Office,  to  the  end  that  not  only  lay 
folk,  but  other  brethren  also  may  see  and  hear 
them  gladly,  and  with  great  devotion.  And 
of  the  lay  brethren,  let  holy  men  and  discreet, 
humble  and  honourable  be  chosen  to  wait 
upon  them.  I  will  also  that  no  person  and 
no  brother  shall  enter  into  that  place  save 
only  the  Minister  General  and  they  that  wait 
upon  him.  And  they  shall  not  speak  with 
any  person  save  with  the  brethren  that  wait 
upon  them  and  with  the  minister  whensoever 
he  shall  visit  them.  I  will  in  like  wise  that 
the  brethren  who  serve  them  shall  be  bound 
not  to  speak  idle  words  or  of  the  news  of  this 
world  unto  them,  or  of  any  other  things  what 
soever,  save  such  as  may  be  of  profit  unto  their 
souls.  And,  therefore,  in  especial  is  it  my  will 
that  none  enter  into  that  place,  so  that  they 
may  the  better  maintain  the  purity  and  holi 
ness  thereof,  and  that  nought  at  all  be  said  nor 
done  in  that  place  idly,  but  that  the  whole 
place  be  held  pure  and  holy  in  hymns  and 
praises  to  the  Lord. 

"And  when  any  of   those    brethren   shall 

depart    hence    unto    the    Lord,   I   will    that 

another  holy  brother,  wheresoever  he  may  be, 

be  sent  thither  by  the  Minister  General.    For 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

if  it  shall  be  hereafter  that  other  brethren  shall 
decline  from  purity  and  loyalty,  I  will  that  this 
blessed  place  be  and  remain  for  ever  the  mirror 
and  good  ensample  of  the  whole  Religion,  and 
in  some  sort  a  candlestick  before  the  throne  ot 
God  and  before  the  Blessed  Virgin  burning 
evermore  and  shining.  Wherefore,  may  God 
be  gracious  unto  the  shortcomings  and  faults 
of  all  the  brethren,  and  ever  preserve  and  pro 
tect  this  Religion,  and  this  sapling  of  His  own 

LVI.— Of   the    humble  ON  a  time  when 

reverence    he  showed  as  he    was     sojourning 

concerning  the  sweeping  at  g.   Mary   of   the 

o!  churches  and  cleansing  Littie    portion    an(} 

them*  the    brethren    as 

yet  were  few,  the  Blessed  Francis  went 
about  throughout  the  towns  and  churches  in 
the  circuit  of  the  lordship  of  Assisi  warning 
and  preaching  unto  men  that  they  should  do 
penance,  and  he  carried  a  broom  for  sweeping 
the  churches  that  were  unclean,  for  the  Blessed 
Francis  was  sore  grieved  whensoever  he  saw 
any  church  not  so  clean  as  he  would  have  it. 
And  for  this  cause,  when  he  had  made  an  end 
of  preaching,  he  did  always  make  all  the 
priests  that  were  present  be  assembled  together 
in  some  place  apart,  lest  he  should  be  over- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

heard  of  the  laymen,  and  did  preach  unto 
them  of  the  salvation  of  souls  and  particularly 
that  they  should  be  careful  to  keep  clean  the 
churches  and  altars  and  all  things  appertaining 
to  the  celebration  of  the  divine  mysteries. 

LVIL— Of  the  country-  Now  when  he  went 

man  that  found  him  to  a  certain  church 

sweeping  a    church,   and  Qf  a   viHage   jn    tne 

after  his  conversion  did  lordship  of  Assisi,  he 
enter  the  Order  and  be" 

came  a  holy  brother.  began,  to  f TeP  ,the 

same  humbly  and  to 

cleanse  it,  and  straightway  a  report  concerning 
him  went  forth  through  the  whole  village,  for 
asmuch  as  he  was  gladly  seen  of  the  folk  therein 
and  yet  more  gladly  heard.  But  when  a  certain 
countryman  of  marvellous  simplicity  that  was 
ploughing  in  his  field,  John  by  name,  did  hear 
of  it,  he  went  unto  him  forthwith  and  found 
him  sweeping  the  church  humbly  and  de 
voutly.  And  saith  he  unto  him  :  "  Brother, 
give  me  the  broom,  for  I  have  a  will  to  help 
thee."  And  taking  the  broom  into  his  hands 
he  swept  that  which  was  left. 

And  while  they  were  sitting  together,  saith 
he  to  the  Blessed  Francis :  "  Brother,  it  is  a 
long  time  now  sithence  that  I  had  a  will  of 
serving  God,  and  specially  after  that  I  heard 
the  talk  about  thee  and  thy  brethren,  but  I 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

knew  not  in  what  wise  I  could  come  unto 
thee.  Now,  therefore,  for  that  it  hath  pleased 
the  Lord  I  should  see  thee,  I  desire  to  do 
whatsoever  shall  please  thee." 

The  Blessed  Francis,  perceiving  his  devo 
tion,  did  exceedingly  rejoice  in  the  Lord, 
forasmuch  as  at  that  time  he  had  but  few 
brethren,  and  it  seemed  him  that  by  the 
simplicity  and  purity  of  the  man  he  ought 
to  be  a  good  Religious.  But  he  said  unto 
him  :  "  Brother,  if  it  be  that  thou  art  minded 
to  be  of  our  life  and  society,  needs  must  thou 
strip  thee  of  all  those  things  that  now  thou 
mayst  have  without  offence  for  thine  own, 
and  give  them  to  the  poor  according  to  the 
counsel  of  the  Holy  Gospel,  forasmuch  as  all 
my  brethren  that  were  able  have  done  the 

When  he  heard  this  he  went  straightway 
to  the  field  where  he  had  left  his  oxen,  and 
unyoked  them,  and  led  one  thereof  into  the 
presence  of  the  Blessed  Francis,  and  said  unto 
him  :  "  Brother,  so  many  years  have  I  served 
my  father  and  all  them  of  my  household,  and 
albeit  this  be  but  a  small  portion  of  mine 
heritage,  yet  am  I  willing  to  accept  this  ox 
as  my  share  and  to  give  the  same  to  the  poor, 
as  it  shall  seem  thee  best."  But  when  his 
kinsmen  and  his  brethren,  that  yet  were  little, 
saw  how  he  was  minded  to  leave  them,  all  of 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

his  household  began  to  weep  so  sore  and  to 
bewail  them  with  voices  so  sorrowful  that  the 
Blessed  Francis  was  moved  unto  compassion 
thereby,  for  the  family  was  large  and  helpless. 
And  the  Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  them  : 
"  Make  ready  food  for  all  of  us,  and  let  us  eat 
thereof  all  together  ;  and  weep  not,  for  I  will 
make  ye  right  joyful."  And  forthwith  they 
made  ready  and  all  did  eat  together  with  great 

After  meat,  the  Blessed  Francis  said  : 
"  This  your  son  is  minded  to  serve  God,  and 
thereof  ought  ye  not  to  grieve,  but  rather  to 
rejoice  exceedingly.  For  unto  you,  not  only 
as  toward  God  but  as  toward  this  world,  is  it 
counted  for  a  great  honour  and  for  the  profit 
both  of  souls  and  bodies  that  God  should  be 
honoured  of  one  of  your  own  flesh,  and  all 
our  brethren  shall  be  your  sons  and  brethren. 
And,  for  that  he  is  a  creature  of  God  and  is 
minded  to  serve  his  Creator,  whom  to  serve 
is  to  reign  as  king,  I  cannot  and  I  ought  not 
to  yield  him  up  to  you,  but  to  the  intent  that 
ye  may  have  some  consolation  for  him,  I  will 
that  he  make  over  that  which  is  his  own  in 
this  ox  unto  you,  as  unto  the  poor,  albeit, 
according  to  the  Gospel,  he  ought  to  give  it 
unto  others  of  the  poor."  And  all  they  were 
comforted  in  the  words  of  the  Blessed  Francis, 
and  most  of  all  did  they  rejoice  of  the  ox  that 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

was  yielded  up  unto  them,  seeing  that  they 
were  exceeding  poor. 

And,  for  that  pure  and  holy  simpleness  in 
himself  and  others  was  right  well  pleasing 
unto  the  Blessed  Francis,  he  clad  him  in  the 
habit  of  the  Religion  and  took  him  with  him 
as  his  companion.  For  of  so  great  simpleness 
was  he  that  he  held  himself  bound  to  do  in 
all  things  as  the  Blessed  Francis  did. 

Hence,  when  the  Blessed  Francis  stayed  in 
any  church  or  in  any  place  to  pray,  he  also 
would  look  at  him  and  straitly  conform  him 
self  unto  all  his  acts  and  gestures.  Insomuch 
as  if  it  were  that  the  Blessed  Francis  did  bend 
his  knees,  or  lift  up  his  hands  to  Heaven,  or 
spit,  or  sighed,  he  also  did  all  these  things  in 
like  wise.  But  when  the  Blessed  Francis  had 
given  thought  to  this  matter,  he  with  great 
cheerfulness  did  begin  to  reprove  him  some 
what  as  concerning  these  and  the  like  simple 
ways.  Unto  whom  he  made  answer :  "  Father, 
I  did  promise  to  do  all  the  things  that  thou 
dost,  wherefore  needs  must  I  conform  me 
unto  thee  in  all  things."  And  the  Blessed 
Francis  did  marvel  and  marvellously  rejoice 
when  he  saw  in  him  so  great  purity  and 

Howbeit  thereafter  began  he  to  make  so 
great  progress  as  that  the  Blessed  Francis 
and  the  other  brethren  did  very  greatly 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisl 

marvel  at  his  perfection,  and  after  some  little 
space  he  died  in  that  same  holy  proficiency  in 
godliness.  Whence  afterward  the  Blessed 
Francis,  with  great  cheerfulness  ot  mind  and 
body,  would  tell  stones  among  the  brethren 
of  his  conversation,  giving  him  the  name,  not 
of  brother,  but  of  John  the  Saint. 

LVIII.—  How    he    did  Now     when    the 

punish  himself  by  eating  Blessed    Francis  re 

in  the  same  dish  with  a  tumed  to  the  church 

leper  for  that  he  had  done  of      thfi      Blessed 

shame  unto  him.  A  T  r     ,       T  .    , 

Mary  of  the  Little 

Portion,  he  found  brother  James  the  Simple 
with  a  certain  leper  that  had  many  sores. 
For  the  Blessed  Francis  had  commended  this 
leper  and  all  other  lepers  unto  him,  forasmuch 
as  he  was,  as  it  were,  their  leech  and  did  wil 
lingly  tent  and  cleanse  and  bind  up  their 
wounds,  for  at  that  time  the  brethren  abode 
in  the  hospitals  of  the  lepers. 

The  Blessed  Francis  therefore  said  unto 
brother  James,  as  if  reproving  him  :  "  Thou 
shouldst  not  lead  these  Christians  abroad,  for 
it  is  not  decent,  neither  for  thee  nor  for  them." 
For  albeit  he  would  that  he  should  serve  them, 
yet  was  he  unwilling  that  he  should  lead  them 
that  were  greatly  afflicted  beyond  the  hospital, 
forasmuch  as  men  are  wont  to  abhor  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

sight  of  such  exceedingly,  and  brother  James 
was  so  simple  that  he  went  with  them  out  of 
the  hospital  as  far  as  the  church  of  S.  Mary 
of  the  Little  Portion  as  if  he  had  been  going 
thither  with  the  brethren.  Now  the  Blessed 
Francis  called  the  lepers  themselves  brother- 

And  when  he  had  spoken  these  words,  the 
Blessed  Francis  did  straightway  reproach  him 
self,  thinking  that  the  leper  should  have  been 
shamed  by  the  reproof  that  he  had  spoken 
unto  brother  James.  And  being  fain  to  make 
satisfaction  both  to  God  and  the  leper,  he  told 
his  fault  to  brother  Peter  of  Catana  that  was 
then  Minister  General,  and  saith  he :  "  I 
would  that  thou  confirm  unto  me  the  penance 
whereof  I  have  made  choice  to  do  for  this 
default,  and  that  thou  wilt  in  no  wise  con 
tradict  me  herein."  Who  made  answer  : 
"Brother,  whatsoever  pleaseth  thee,  that 
do  ! "  For  brother  Peter  did  so  reverence 
and  fear  him  that  he  did  not  presume  to  con 
tradict  him,  albeit  thereby  was  he  often  him 
self  afflicted. 

Then  said  the  Blessed  Francis  :  "  Let  this 
be  my  penance,  to  wit,  that  I  eat  together  in 
one  dish  with  my  brother-Christian."  When, 
therefore,  the  Blessed  Francis  sat  at  table  with 
the  leper  and  the  other  brethren,  a  dish  was 
set  between  the  Blessed  Francis  and  the  leper. 
97  G 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

Now  he  was  all  covered  with  sores  and  loath 
some,  and  in  especial  had  he  his  fingers  drawn 
together  and  bleeding  wherewith  he  took  the 
pieces  out  of  the  dish,  in  suchwise  that  when 
he  set  them  in  the  dish  the  blood  and  matter 
from  his  fingers  ran  down  thereinto.  And 
when  brother  Peter  and  the  rest  of  the  brethren 
saw  this,  greatly  were  they  grieved  thereby, 
but  nought  durst  they  say  by  reason  of  their 
fear  and  reverence  of  the  holy  father. 

He  that  saw  this  did  write  the  same,  and 
beareth  witness  of  these  things. 

LIX.— How  he  put  devils  ON  a  time  the 
to  flight  by  words  of  Blessed  Francis 
humility.  went  to  the  church 

of  the  Blessed  Peter  at  Bovara  nigh  the  walled 
town  of  Trevi  in  the  Vale  of  Spoleto,  and 
with  him  went  brother  Pacifico  that  in  the 
world  was  called  the  King  of  Verse  and  the 
Courtly  Doctor  of  Singers.  Now  the  church 
was  deserted.  Wherefore  said  the  Blessed 
Francis  to  the  Blessed  Pacifico :  "  Go 
back  to  the  hospital  of  the  lepers,  for  I  am 
minded  to  remain  here  alone  to-night,  and 
to-morrow  early  in  the  morning  come  back 
to  me."  Now  whilst  that  he  abode  there 
alone  and  had  said  Complines  and  other 
prayers,  he  was  fain  to  rest  and  to  go  to  sleep, 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

but  could  not.  And  his  spirit  began  to  be 
afeared  and  to  feel  devilish  suggestions,  and 
forthwith  he  went  out  of  the  church  and  did 
cross  himself,  saying :  "  On  behalf  of  God 
Almighty,  I  bid  you  devils  that  you  exercise 
upon  my  body  all  that  it  hath  been  given  unto 
you  to  do  by  the  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  forasmuch 
as  all  things  am  I  ready  to  undergo  !  For 
sithence  as  that  the  greatest  enemy  I  have  is 
mine  own  body,  do  you  avenge  me  of  mine 
adversary  and  most  bitter  foe  !  "  And  straight 
way  those  suggestions  did  cease  altogether, 
and  going  back  to  the  place  where  he  had  laid 
him  down,  he  went  to  sleep  in  peace. 

LX.— Of  the  vision  of  WHEN  the  morrow 
brother  Pacifico  that  he  came,  brother  Paci- 
saw,  and  how  he  heard  fico  came  back  unto 
that  the  seat  of  Lucifer  faj  Th  fil  d 
was  reserved  for  the  ^  .  ^ 

humble  Francis.  Francis  was  then 

standing  before  the 

altar  in  prayer.  And  brother  Pacifico 
waited  for  him  without  the  choir  pray 
ing  in  like  wise  before  a  crucifix.  And 
when  he  began  to  pray,  he  was  lifted  up  and 
snatched  away  into  Heaven,  whether  in  the 
body  or  out  of  the  body  God  only  knoweth, 
and  saw  in  Heaven  many  seats,  whereof  he 
saw  one  higher  than  the  rest,  and  glorious 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

beyond  them  all,  shining  and  made  fair  with 
every  precious  stone.  And  marvelling  at  the 
beauty  thereof,  he  began  to  think  within  him 
self  whose  seat  it  should  be.  And  straightway 
he  heard  a  voice  saying  unto  him  :  "  This 
seat  was  the  seat  of  Lucifer,  and  in  his  stead 
shall  the  humble  Francis  sit  herein." 

And  when  he  had  come  back  to  himself, 
forthwith  the  Blessed  Francis  went  without 
unto  him,  at  whose  feet  the  brother  fell 
straightway  with  his  arms  set  together  after 
the  manner  of  a  cross,  and  conceiving  him 
as  already  in  Heaven  abiding  in  that  chair, 
said  unto  him  :  "  Father,  forgive  me,  and 
beseech  the  Lord  that  He  have  mercy 
upon  me  and  forgive  me  my  sins  !  "  But 
stretching  forth  his  hand,  the  Blessed  Francis 
lifted  him  up  and  straightway  knew  that  he 
had  seen  something  in  prayer.  For  he  did 
seem  all  changed,  and  spake  unto  the  Blessed 
Francis  not  as  if  he  were  still  living  in  the 
flesh,  but  as  already  reigning  in  Heaven. 

But  afterward,  for  that  he  was  unwilling  to 
tell  the  Blessed  Francis  of  his  vision,  he  began 
to  speak  words  unto  him,  touching  the  matter 
as  it  were  in  a  roundabout  fashion,  and  among 
other  things  he  said  unto  him  :  "  How  deemest 
thou  of  thyself,  brother?"  The  Blessed 
Francis  made  answer  and  said  unto  him : 
"  Meseemeth  that  I  be  the  greatest  sinner  in 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

all  the  world."  And  straightway  it  was  said 
unto  the  soul  of  brother  Pacifico  :  "  Hereby 
mayst  thou  know  the  truth  of  the  vision  thou 
hast  seen,  for  whereas  on  account  of  his  pride 
was  Lucifer  cast  down  from  that  throne,  even 
so  shall  Francis  on  account  of  his  humility 
deserve  to  be  exalted  and  to  sit  therein." 

LXL — How  he  made  him  Now  on  a  time 
be  haled  naked  with  a  when  he  was  some- 
rope  tied  round  his  neck  what  recovered  of  a 
before  the  people.  cemin  sQre  sickness 

that  he  had,  it  seemed  him  that  his  allowance  of 
food  in  that  sickness  had  somewhat  exceeded, 
albeit  he  had  eaten  but  little ;  and  rising  up  one 
day  when  as  yet  he  was  not  free  of  his  quartan 
fever,  he  made  the  people  of  the  city  of  Assisi 
be  called  together  in  the  Piazza  for  preaching. 
And  when  he  had  made  an  end  of  preaching, 
he  bade  the  people  that  none  should  depart 
thence  until  such  time  as  he  should  return 
unto  them.  Whereupon,  entering  into  the 
church  of  the  bishopric  of  S.  Rufinus  with 
many  of  the  brethren  and  brother  Peter  of 
Catana,  that  was  a  canon  of  that  Church  and 
had  been  chosen  first  Minister  General  by  the 
Blessed  Francis,  he  told  the  same  brother 
Peter,  enjoining  him  on  his  obedience,  with 
out  contradiction  to  do  that  which  he 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

should  tell  him  to  do.  Brother  Peter  made 
answer  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  I  neither  can 
nor  ought  I  to  will  or  to  do  aught  as  concern 
ing  me  and  thee  other  than  as  it  shall  please 
thee."  Wherefore,  putting  off  his  habit,  the 
Blessed  Francis  bade  him  tie  a  cord  round  his 
neck  and  hale  him  naked  before  the  people  as 
far  as  the  place  where  he  had  been  preaching. 
Another  brother  he  bade  take  a  dishful  of 
ashes  and  go  up  to  the  place  where  he  had 
preached,  and  when  he  was  haled  as  far  as  that 
place,  should  cast  the  ashes  over  his  face. 
But  he  did  not  obey  him  herein  for  the  exceed 
ing  pity  and  compassion  wherewith  he  was 
moved  towards  him. 

And  brother  Peter  taking  the  cord  tied  to 
his  neck  did  hale  him  behind  him  as  he  had 
bidden  him.  Howbeit  he  himself  did  weep 
right  sore,  and  the  other  brethren  with  him 
did  shed  tears  of  exceeding  compassion  and 

And  when  he  was  thus  led  naked  before 
the  people  as  far  as  the  place  wherein  he  had 
preached,  he  said  :  "  You  and  all  that  by  mine 
ensample  do  leave  the  world  behind  and  enter 
into  the  religion  and  life  of  the  brethren,  ye 
do  all  believe  that  I  am  a  holy  man,  yet  nathe- 
less  do  I  confess  unto  God  and  unto  you  that 
in  this  sickness  of  mine  I  have  eaten  of  flesh- 
meats  and  broths  sodden  of  meat."  And  all 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

as  it  were  did  begin  to  weep  over  him  for 
exceeding  pity  and  compassion,  specially  as  it 
was  then  winter-time  and  the  cold  was  exceed 
ing  sore,  and  he  was  not  yet  free  of  the 
quartan  fever. 

And  smiting  their  bosoms  they  did  accuse 
themselves  saying  :  "  If  this  saint,  for  just  and 
manifest  necessity,  with  so  great  shame  of  his 
body  doth  thus  accuse  himself  whose  life  we 
know  to  be  holy,  and  whom  moreover  by  his 
exceeding  abstinence  and  by  the  austerities 
that  he  hath  done  unto  his  body  from  the 
beginning  of  his  conversion  to  Christ  we  do 
behold  alive  in  the  flesh  that  is  as  it  were  already 
dead  before  its  time,  what  shall  we  wretched 
ones  do  that  all  the  days  of  our  life  have  lived 
and  continually  do  live  according  to  the  desire 
of  the  flesh  ?  " 

LXII.— How  he  would  IN    like    manner  at 

that  any  comforts  he  re-  another   time   when 

ceived  for  his  body  should  j^    fad    eaten    jn    a 

be  known  to  all,  certain  hermitage  at 

the  time  of  S.  Martin's  Lent,  of  cakes  made 
with  lard  on  account  of  his  ailments  that  did 
render  oil  exceeding  unwholesome,  at  the  end  of 
the  Lent,  when  he  was  preaching  to  a  crowd  of 
folk,  at  the  first  word  of  his  sermon  he  said 
unto  them :  "  Ye  come  to  me  with  great 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

devoutness,  believing  me  to  be  a  saint,  but  I 
do  confess  unto  God  and  unto  you  that  this 
Lent  I  have  eaten  of  cakes  made  with  lard." 

Yea,  moreover,  well-nigh  always  when  he 
had  been  eating  with  any  laymen  or  some 
little  bodily  comfort  was  made  for  him  by  the 
brethren  on  account  of  his  infirmities,  straight 
way  within  the  house  and  without,  in  the 
presence  of  the  brethren  that  knew  not 
thereof  and  of  laymen,  would  he  say  openly, 
"  I  have  eaten  of  such  and  such  meats."  For 
he  had  no  mind  to  hide  from  men  what  was 
manifest  to  God.  In  like  manner  also,  where 
soever  and  in  the  presence  of  whatsoever 
Religious  or  lay-folk,  his  spirit  was  moved  to 
pride  or  vainglory,  or  to  any  wickedness, 
forthwith  would  he  confess  the  same  before 
them  nakedly,  without  any  cloak  whatsoever. 

Whence  once  he  said  unto  his  companions  : 
"  In  such  wise  am  I  fain  to  live  in  the  wilder 
nesses  and  in  other  places  wherein  I  sojourn, 
as  if  all  men  were  looking  upon  me.  For 
and  if  they  take  me  to  be  a  holy  man,  and  I 
lead  not  the  life  that  holy  man  beseemeth, 
then  should  I  be  a  hypocrite." 

When,  therefore,  on  account  of  an  ailment 
of  the  spleen  and  a  chill  of  the  stomach,  one 
of  his  companions  that  was  his  warden  was 
minded  to  sew  on  the  inner  side  of  his  habit 
a  little  bit  of  fox-skin  nigh  the  spleen  and 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

stomach,  particularly  as  the  cold  was  great, 
the  Blessed  Francis  made  answer  unto  him  : 
"  If  thou  wouldst  that  I  should  have  fox-skin 
on  the  inner  side  my  habit,  make  be  set  with 
out  upon  the  habit  a  shred  of  the  same  skin 
so  as  that  thereby  men  may  know  that  I  have 
fox-skin  within  also."  And  this  he  made  be 
done,  but  full  little  did  he  wear  it,  albeit  it 
were  greatly  necessary  unto  him. 

LXIIL— How  he  did  WHEN*  he  was  going 
straightway  accuse  himself  throuo-h  the  city  of 
of  the  vain  glory  he  had  in  Assisf  a  certain  poor 
giving  alms.  M  woman  did  ask  an 

alms  of  him  for  the  love  of  God,  and  forth 
with  he  gave  her  the  mantle  that  he  had  on 
his  back,  but  straightway  without  tarrying  he 
did  confess  before  them  that  were  following 
the  vainglory  that  he  had  therein. 

And  so  many  other  ensamples  like  unto  these 
have  we  seen  and  heard  of  his  absolute  humi 
lity,  that  we  who  were  conversant  with  him 
cannot  set  forth  the  same,  neither  in  word 
nor  in  writing.  But  to  this  did  the  Blessed 
Francis  pay  the  chiefest  and  highest  heed, 
that  never  should  he  be  a  hypocrite  before 
God,  albeit  on  account  of  his  often  infirmi 
ties,  an  allowance  beyond  the  ordinary  was 
a  necessity  to  him,  yet  did  he  ever  take 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

thought  to  show  in  himself  a  good  ensample 
to  the  brethren  and  to  others,  wherefore 
would  he  endure  every  privation  that  he  might 
take  away  from  all  every  occasion  of  murmur 

LXIV.— How  he  described  WHEN  the  time 
the  state  of  perfect  humility  of  the  Chapter 
in  his  own  person.  w  a  s  drawing 

nigh  the  Blessed  Francis  said  to  his  com 
panion  :  "  Meseemeth  I  am  not  a  brother 
Minor  save  I  be  in  the  state  that  I  shall  tell 
thee.  Behold,  the  brethren  with  great  devo 
tion  invite  me  to  the  Chapter,  and  moved  by 
their  devotion  I  do  go  unto  the  Chapter  with 
them.  And  when  they  be  gathered  together 
they  beseech  me  that  I  shall  announce  unto 
them  the  Word  of  God  and  preach  among 
them.  And  rising  up  I  preach  unto  them  as 
the  Holy  Spirit  shall  have  taught  me.  Now 
suppose,  when  the  preaching  is  ended,  that 
all  should  cry  out  against  me,  c  We  will  not 
have  thee  to  reign  over  us,  for  thou  art  not 
eloquent,  as  is  befitting,  and  too  simple  art 
thou,  and  an  idiot,  and  we  be  sore  ashamed 
to  have  a  superior  over  us  so  simple  and 
despised,  wherefore  henceforth  presume  not 
to  be  called  our  superior  !  '  And  so  they  cast 
me  out  with  contumely  and  disgrace.  Me- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

seemeth  I  am  no  brother  Minor  if  I  rejoice 
not  when  they  should  thus  hold  me  of  no 
account  and  cast  me  out  with  shame,  being 
unwilling  that  I  should  be  their  superior, 
as  gladly  as  when  they  venerate  and  honour 
me,  the  profit  and  advantage  to  themselves 
in  either  case  being  equal.  For  if  I  am  glad 
when  they  do  exalt  and  honour  me  on  account 
of  their  own  profit  and  devoutness,  wherein 
nevertheless  may  be  peril  to  my  soul,  much 
more  ought  I  to  be  glad  and  joyful  of  the  profit 
and  salvation  of  my  soul  when  they  speak 
evil  against  me,  wherein  is  the  certain  gain 
of  a  soul." 

L XV.— How   he   vras      WHEN  the  Chapter 
minded  to  go  humbly  into      was    ended    wherein 
distant  parts  in  like  man-      many  brethren  were 
ner  as  he  had  sent  other      sent  tQ  cemin 
brethren,  and  how  he  ,  r 

taught  the  brethren  to  go  ™™.  bej°"d  Sea> 
humbly  and  devoutly  the  Blessed  Francis, 
through  the  world,  remaining  with 

certain     of      the 

brethren,  said  unto  them :  "  My  best  be 
loved  brethren,  meet  it  is  that  I  should  be 
the  pattern  and  ensample  of  all  the  brethren. 
If,  therefore,  I  have  sent  the  brethren  into 
far-off  parts  to  undergo  travail  and  shame, 
hunger  and  thirst,  and  other  necessities,  it  is 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

only  just,  and  holy  obedience  doth  require, 
that  I  in  like  manner  should  go  to  some 
distant  province,  to  the  intent  that  the 
brethren  should  the  more  patiently  endure 
their  adversities  when  they  shall  hear  that  I 
also  undergo  the  same.  Go,  therefore,  and 
pray  the  Lord  that  He  grant  me  to  make 
choice  of  the  province  that  shall  be  most  to 
His  praise  and  the  profit  of  souls  and  a  good 
ensample  of  our  Religion." 

For  it  was  the  wont  of  the  most  holy  father 
when  he  was  minded  to  go  to  some  province, 
first  to  pray  the  Lord,  and  to  send  brethren 
to  pray  that  the  Lord  would  direct  his  heart 
to  go  thither  where  it  was  best  pleasing  unto 

The  brethren,  therefore,  went  to  pray,  and 
when  they  had  made  an  end  of  praying  they 
came  back  unto  him.  And  straightway  with 
joy  he  said  unto  them  :  "  In  the  name  of  our 
Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  of  the  Glorious  Virgin 
Mary  and  of  all  saints,  I  choose  the  province 
of  France,  wherein  is  a  Catholic  folk,  and  the 
more  for  that  among  other  Catholics  they  do 
manifest  a  special  reverence  toward  the  Body 
of  Christ,  the  which  is  right  grateful  unto 
me,  wherefore  with  them  will  I  most  willingly 
hold  converse." 

For  the  Blessed  Francis  had  so  great 
reverence  and  devotion  toward  the  Body  of 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Christ,  that  he  would  it  should  be  written  in 
the  Rule  that  the  brethren  in  the  provinces 
wherein  they  sojourned  should  have  a  great 
care  and  solicitude  in  this  matter,  and  should 
admonish  clerics  and  priests  that  they  should 
set  aside  the  Body  of  Christ  in  an  honourable 
and  decent  place,  the  which,  if  they  neglected 
to  do,  the  brethren  were  to  do  it  for  them. 

He  would,  moreover,  it  should  be  set  in  the 
Rule,  that  wheresoever  the  brethren  should 
find  the  names  of  the  Lord  and  the  words 
whereby  the  Body  of  the  Lord  is  made  not 
well  and  honourably  put  into  safe  keeping, 
they  themselves  should  collect  the  same  and 
put  them  away  worshipfully,  honouring  God 
in  His  words.  And  albeit  these  things  were 
not  written  in  the  Rule,  for  that  it  seemed 
not  good  to  the  ministers  that  this  should  be 
an  injunction  to  the  brethren,  yet  in  his  will 
and  in  other  of  his  writings  he  was  minded  to 
leave  to  fche  brethren  his  will  in  these  matters. 

At  one  time,  indeed,  he  was  minded  to 
send  certain  brethren  through  all  the  provinces, 
that  should  take  with  them  a  number  of  pyxes 
fair  and  clean,  and  wheresoever  they  should 
find  the  Body  of  the  Lord  dishonourably  set 
away,  they  should  place  the  same  with  all 
honour  in  these  pyxes.  He  desired,  more 
over,  to  send  certain  other  brethren  throughout 
all  the  provinces  with  good  and  fair  moulds  of 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

iron  for  shaping  of  the  Hosts  fair  and 

Widen,  therefore,  the  Blessed  Francis  did 
choose  those  brethren  that  he  wished  to  take 
with  him,  he  said  unto  them  :  "  In  the  name 
of  the  Lord  go  ye  two  and  two  by  the  way 
humbly  and  worshipfully,  and,  above  all,  with 
strait  silence  from  early  morning  until  after 
tierce,  praying  unto  the  Lord  in  your  hearts, 
and  let  idle  words  and  useless  be  not  so  much 
as  named  amongst  you.  For  albeit  that  ye 
walk  abroad,  let  your  conversation  be  not  less 
humble  and  beseeming  than  if  ye  were  in  a 
hermitage  or  a  cell.  For  we,  wheresoever  we 
be,  or  whithersoever  we  may  walk,  have  always 
the  cell  with  us.  For  brother  Body  is  our 
cell,  and  the  soul  is  the  hermit  that  abideth 
within  the  cell  to  pray  to  the  Lord  and 
meditate  upon  Him.  Whence  if  it  be  that  the 
soul  abideth  not  quietly  in  her  cell,  of  right 
little  avail  is  the  cell  of  the  Religious  builded 
with  hands." 

And  when  he  had  come  as  far  as  Florence 
he  found  there  my  Lord  Ugolino,  Bishop  of 
Ostia,  that  was  afterward  Pope  Gregory,  who, 
when  he  had  heard  from  the  Blessed  Francis 
that  he  was  minded  to  go  into  France,  forbade 
him  to  go  thither,  saying  :  "  Brother,  it  is 
my  will  thou  go  not  beyond  the  mountains, 
for  many  prelates  there  be  that  gladly  would 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

hinder  the  good  work  of  thy  Religion  in  the 
Court  of  Rome.  But  I  and  the  other 
Cardinals  that  love  the  Religion  will  right 
gladly  protect  and  help  the  same  if  thou  wilt 
abide  within  the  circuit  of  this  province." 

And  the  Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  him  : 
"  My  lord,  great  shame  is  it  unto  me,  seeing 
that  I  have  sent  others  my  brethren  into 
provinces  far  away,  if  that  I  myself  remain  in 
these  parts,  and  partake  not  in  the  tribulations 
that  they  for  the  Lord's  sake  are  about  to 

But  the  Bishop  said  unto  him,  as  it  were 
reproving  him  :  "  Wherefore  hast  thou  sent 
thy  brethren  so  far  away  to  die  of  hunger  and 
to  suffer  other  tribulations  ?  " 

The  Blessed  Francis  made  answer  unto 
him  with  great  fervour  and  in  the  spirit  of 
prophecy,  saying  :  "  My  lord,  weenest  thou 
that  the  Lord  hath  sent  the  brethren  for  the 
sake  of  these  provinces  only  ?  Yea,  I  tell  thee 
of  a  truth  that  God  hath  chosen  and  sent  the 
brethren  for  the  profit  and  salvation  of  the 
souls  of  all  the  men  of  this  world ;  not  alone 
in  the  lands  of  the  faithful,  but  even  in  the 
lands  of  the  infidel  shall  they  be  received,  and 
many  be  the  souls  that  they  shall  win." 

And  the  Lord  Bishop  of  Ostia  did  marvel 
at   his   words,    affirming    that   he    spake   the 
truth,  yet  even  so  would  he  not  allow  him  to 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

go  into  France  ;  but  the  Blessed  Francis  sent 
thither  brother  Pacifico  with  many  other 
brethren.  Howbeit,  he  himself  went  back  to 
the  Vale  of  Spoleto. 

LXVI. — How  he  taught  UNTO   a    certain 

the  brethren  to  win  the  hermitage      of     the 

souls  of  certain  robbers  by  brethren    above    the 

humility  and  charity.  BorgQ  San  Sepokro 

came  robbers  on  a  time  for  bread,  that  did  hide 
them  in  the  woods  and  rob  them  that  passed  that 
way.  Certain  of  the  brethren  said  that  it  was 
not  a  good  thing  to  give  them  alms,  but  others 
out  of  compassion  did  give  for  the  sake  of^ 
moving  them  to  repentance. 

In  the  meanwhile  the  Blessed  Francis  came 
to  that  place  whom  the  brethren  did  ask 
whether  it  were  a  good  thing  to  give  them 
alms,  and  the  Blessed  Francis  said  unto  them  : 
"  And  ye  will  do  as  I  shall  tell  you,  I  trust  in 
the  Lord  that  ye  shall  win  their  souls.  Go 
ye  therefore  and  procure  good  bread  and  good 
wine  and  carry  them  into  the  forest  wherein 
they  abide,  and  cry  out  saying :  '  Brother 
robbers,  come  unto  us,  for  that  we  be  brethren, 
and  bring  you  good  bread  and  good  wine  ! ' 
They  will  come  incontinent.  Then  spread 
ye  a  napkin  on  the  ground  and  set  the  bread 
and  wine  thereon,  and  serve  the  same  humbly 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

and  cheerfully  until  that  they  have  eaten. 
Howbeit,  after  that  they  have  eaten,  ye  shall 
speak  unto  them  of  the  Word  of  God,  and  at 
the  last  ye  shall  prefer  this  first  petition  for 
the  love  of  God,  to  wit,  that  they  do  promise 
you  not  to  murder  nor  do  no  man  any  hurt  to 
his  person.  For  and  ye  shall  ask  them  every 
thing  at  once,  they  will  not  hearken  unto  you, 
but  so  much  will  they  promise  ye  forthwith 
for  the  sake  of  your  humility  and  charity. 

"  Then,  on  another  day,  on  account  of  their 
good  promise,  carry  unto  them  along  with  the 
bread  and  wine,  eggs  and  cheese,  and  serve 
until  they  shall  have  eaten.  And  when  they 
have  eaten  thereof  ye  shall  say  unto  them  : 
'Why  stand  ye  here  all  the  day,  to  die  of 
hunger  and  suffer  so  many  hardships,  and 
therewithal  to  do  so  many  evil  deeds  in  will 
and  in  work,  whereby,  save  ye  be  converted 
unto  the  Lord,  ye  do  destroy  your  own  souls  ? 
Better  is  it  that  ye  serve  the  Lord,  that  shall 
bestow  upon  you  in  this  world  the  things  that 
be  necessary  to  the  body,  and  in  the  end  shall 
save  your  souls.'  Then  shall  they  be  inspired 
of  God  and  shall  be  converted  for  the  sake  of 
your  humility  and  patience  that  ye  have  shown 

The  brethren  accordingly  did  all  things  as 
the  Blessed  Francis  had  told  them,  and  the 
robbers  by  the  grace  and  mercy  of  God  did 

H  H 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

hearken  unto  them  and  did  observe  letter  by 
letter  and  point  by  point  all  things  whatsoever 
the  brethren  did  humbly  beseech  them  to  do. 
Yea,  by  reason  of  the  humility  and  familiarity 
of  the  brethren  toward  them,  they  did  begin 
humbly  to  serve  the  brethren  themselves, 
bearing  wood  on  their  shoulders  as  far  as  the 
hermitage,  and,  at  the  last  certain  of  them  did 
enter  the  Religion.  Others  moreover,  con 
fessing  their  sins,  did  penance  for  those  they 
had  committed,  promising  in  the  hands  of  the 
brethren  that  they  would  thereafter  live  of  the 
labour  of  their  hands  and  never  be  guilty  of  the 
like  again. 

LXVIL— How  hewas  ON    a    time    the 

beaten  of  devils  and  knew  Blessed    Francis 

thereby  that  it  was  better  went  tQ  Rome  tQ 

pleasing  to  God  he  should  •  {     fa    j     d  fi.  fa 

stay  in  poor  and  humble  r  ~     . 

places  than  with  Car^  of  Ostla>   and    after 

Finals.  that    he  had   stayed 

some  days  with  him, 

he  visited  also  the  lord  Leo,  a  Cardinal  that  was 
mightily  devoted  to  the  Blessed  Francis.  And 
for  that  it  was  then  winter  time  and  altogether 
unfit  for  walking  by  reason  of  the  cold  and 
wind  and  rain,  he  besought  him  that  he  would 
sojourn  with  him  some  days  and  take  his 
victual  from  him  as  a  poor  man  along  with 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  other  poor  men  that  did  eat  daily  in  his 

Howbeit  this  he  said  for  that  he  knew  the 
Blessed  Francis  was  minded  always  to  be  taken 
in  as  a  poor  man  wheresoever  he  might  be 
lodged,  albeit  the  lord  Pope  and  the  Cardinal 
with  the  greatest  reverence  and  devotion 
would  have  received  him  and  reverenced  him 
as  a  Saint.  Moreover  he  added  :  "  I  will 
give  thee  a  good  house  apart,  wherein  thou 
mayst  pray  and  eat  if  thou  wilt." 

Then  brother  Angelo  Tancredi  that  was 
one  of  the  twelve  first  brethren,  who  also  was 
staying  with  the  said  Cardinal,  said  unto  the 
Blessed  Francis:  "Brother,  nigh  hereby  is  a 
certain  tower  very  roomy  and  remote  wherein 
thou  mayst  dwell  as  in  a  hermitage."  The 
which  when  the  Blessed  Francis  saw,  he  was 
pleased  therewithal,  and  coming  back  to  the 
Cardinal  said  unto  him  :  "  My  lord,  haply  I 
will  remain  with  you  for  some  days." 

And  the  lord  Cardinal  made  great  joy 
thereof.  Brother  Angelo  therefore  went  and 
made  ready  a  place  in  the  tower  for  the  Blessed 
Francis  and  his  companion.  And  for  that  the 
Blessed  Francis  was  not  minded  to  come  down 
from  thence  so  long  as  he  abode  with  the 
Cardinal  and  desired  also  that  none  should 
come  in  unto  him,  brother  Angelo  promised 
and  made  ordinance  that  every  day  victual 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

should  be  brought  thither   for  him   and  his 

And  when  the  Blessed  Francis  had  gone 
thither  with  his  companion,  on  the  first  night 
when  he  was  fain  to  ga  to  sleep  therein,  came 
devils  and  did  beat  him  sore.  And  calling  his 
companion  he  said  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  the 
devils  have  beaten  me  sore,  and  therefore  I 
will  that  thou  remain  anigh  me,  for  I  am 
afeared  to  stay  here  alone."  And  that  night 
his  companion  bode  anigh  him,  for  the  Blessed 
Francis  was  all  trembling  as  he  that  is  smit 
ten  with  an  ague,  wherefore  both  were  awake 
through  the  whole  night. 

In  the  meanwhile,  said  the  Blessed  Francis 
to  his  companion  :  "  Wherefore  have  the 
devils  beaten  me  ?  and  wherefore  hath  power 
been  given  unto  them  of  the  Lord  that  they 
should  do  me  hurt  ?  "  And  saith  he  :  "  The 
devils  be  the  Lord's  sergeants,  for  even  as  the 
High  Bailiff  of  the  city  doth  send  his  sergeant 
to  punish  him  that  hath  committed  an  offence, 
even  so  doth  the  Lord  by  his  sergeants,  to 
wit,  by  the  devils  that  in  this  world  are  His 
ministers,  correct  and  chastise  whomsoever  He 
loveth.  For  even  the  perfect  Religious  doth 
oft-times  sin,  albeit  he  know  not  thereof; 
wherefore  by  means  of  the  devil  is  he  chastised 
for  that  he  knoweth  not  his  sin,  to  the  intent 
that  he  may  search  diligently  both  within  him 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  without,  and  find  out  those  things  wherein 
he  hath  offended.  For  them  that  the  Lord 
loveth  of  very  love  in  this  world,  nought  in 
them  doth  He  leave  to  be  punished  hereafter. 

"  Howbeit,  by  the  mercy  and  grace  of  God, 
I  know  not  that  I  have  offended  in  aught  for 
the  which  I  have  not  made  amends  by  con 
fession  and  satisfaction  ;  yea,  by  His  mercy 
hath  God  granted  me  this  boon,  that  as  con 
cerning  all  things  wherein  I  may  please  or 
displease  Him  I  do  receive  clear  knowledge  in 
prayer.  But  it  may  be  that  He  hath  now  by 
His  sergeants  chastised  me  for  that  albeit  my 
lord  Cardinal  hath  gladly  shown  me  mercy 
and  that  it  is  necessary  for  my  body  to  receive 
this  refreshment,  yet  my  brethren  that  go 
about  the  world  enduring  hunger  and  mani 
fold  tribulations,  and  other  brethren  that  abide 
in  hermitages  and  sorry  houses,  when  they 
shall  hear  that  I  am  sojourning  with  my  lord 
Cardinal,  may  find  occasion  to  murmur  against 
me,  saying,  cWe  do  endure  all  these  many 
adversities,  while  he  hath  these  comforts  of  his 

"  For  I  am  bound  ever  to  set  them  a  good 
ensample,  seeing  that  for  this  have  I  been 
given  unto  them,  for  more  are  the  brethren 
edified  when  I  abide  amongst  them  in  their 
sorry  places  rather  than  in  others,  and  more 
patiently  do  they  bear  their  own  tribulations 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

when  they   hear  that   I   also   do    endure  the 

For  in  truth  this  was  the  chiefest  and  con 
tinual  study  of  our  father,  that  always  and  in 
all  things  he  should  afford  a  good  ensample, 
and  take  away  from  the  brethren  all  occasion 
of  murmuring  as  concerning  him.  And  on 
account  of  this,  sick  or  heal,  so  many  and  so 
sore  were  the  sufferings  he  endured  that  all 
the  brethren  whosoever  that  knew  thereof  as 
did  we  that  were  with  him  until  his  dying  day, 
so  often  as  they  read  thereof  or  commend  them 
in  writing  to  memory,  cannot  refrain  them 
from  tears,  and  are  willing  to  undergo  all 
tribulations  and  necessities  with  the  greater 
patience  and  cheerfulness. 

The  Blessed  Francis  come  down  therefore 
from  the  tower  early  in  the  morning  and  went 
to  the  lord  Cardinal,  telling  him  all  that  had 
befallen  him  and  that  he  and  his  companion 
had  undergone,  yea,  he  even  said  unto  him  : 
"  Men  do  believe  me  to  be  a  saint,  and  behold, 
the  devils  have  cast  me  forth  of  my  retreat." 

And  the  lord  Cardinal  was  right  cheerful 
with  him.  Howbeit,  for  that  he  knew  and 
reverenced  him  as  a  saint,  he  would  not  con 
tradict  him  after  that  he  was  minded  not  to 
stay  there.  And  so  the  Blessed  Francis  bid 
ding  him  farewell,  came  back  to  the  hermitage 
of  Fonte  Palumbo  nigh  Rieti. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

LXVIII.— How  he  rebuked  WHEN  the  Blessed 
the  brethren  that  wished  Francis  was  in  the 
to  go  by  the  way  of  their  Chapter  General  at 
Pft-Sf^SCj  S  Mary  of  the  Little 
mility,  and  did  foretell  ™rt'OI?>  ™at  was 
them  of  the  reformation  called  the  Chapter  of 
of  the  Order  and  the  the  Wattles,  for  that 
bringing  back  thereof  to  no  dwellings  were 
its  first  condition.  therein  but  such  as 

were  builded  with  wattles,  and  five  thousand 
brethren  were  assembled,  a  great  many  that  were 
wise  and  learned  went  to  the  lord  Bishop  of  Ostia, 
that  was  likewise  there,  and  said  unto  him  : 
"  My  lord,  we  would  that  thou  shouldst  per 
suade  brother  Francis  to  follow  the  counsel  of 
the  wiser  brethren,  and  allow  himself  some 
times  to  be  guided  by  them."  And  they  did 
allege  the  Rules  of  S.  Benedict,  S.  Augustine, 
and  S.  Bernard  that  did  teach  how  such  and 
such  should  be  the  life  of  them  that  were  in 
the  Order. 

And  when  the  Cardinal  had  repeated  all 
these  things  to  the  Blessed  Francis  by  way  of 
admonition,  the  Blessed  Francis,  making  none 
answer  unto  him,  did  take  him  by  the  hand, 
and  led  him  unto  the  brethren  in  Chapter 
assembled,  and  spake  thus  unto  the  brethren 
in  the  fervour  and  the  strength  of  the  Holy 
Spirit  :  "  My  brethren  !  My  brethren  !  The 
Lord  hath  called  me  by  the  way  of  simplicity 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

and  humility,  and  this  way  hath  He  pointed 
out  to  me  in  truth  for  myself  and  for  them 
that  are  willing  to  believe  me  and  to  imitate 
me.  I  am  fain,  therefore,  that  ye  name  unto 
me  none  other  Rule,  neither  of  S.  Benedict, 
nor  of  S.  Augustine,  nor  of  S.  Bernard,  nor 
none  other  way  nor  form  of  living  save  that 
which  hath  been  mercifully  shown  and  given 
unto  me  by  the  Lord.  And  the  Lord  hath 
told  me  that  He  would  I  should  be  a  new 
covenant  in  the  world,  and  that  He  would  not 
lead  us  by  any  other  way  than  by  that  know 
ledge.  But  with  all  your  science  and  your 
wisdom,  God  will  confound  you,  and  I  have 
trust  in  the  sergeants  of  the  Lord,  that  by 
means  of  them  God  will  punish  you,  and  that 
ye  shall  yet  return  to  your  condition,  for  aD 
your  fault-finding,  will  ye  or  nill  ye  !  " 

Then  the  Cardinal  was  sore  amazed,  and 
answered  nought,  and  all  the  brethren  were 
mightily  afeared. 

1 20 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

LXIX.— How  he  fore'  THE  Blessed  Fran- 
knew  and  foretold  that  cjs  sorrowed  sore 
knowledge  should  be  the  to  see  the  know- 
occasion  of  ruin  to  the  j,  that  puffeth 
Order,  and  how  he  tor^ 

badeoneofthecompanions  UP  sought  after 
to  devote  himself  to  the  to  *he  neglect  of 
study  of  preaching,  godliness,  and  more 

especially  if  any 

should  persevere  not  in  the  vocation  where 
in  he  was  called  at  the  beginning.  For  he 
would  say  :  "  Those  brethren  of  mine  that 
are  led  away  by  curiosity  of  knowledge  in  the 
day  of  tribulation  will  find  their  hands  empty. 
Therefore  would  I  that  they  should  rather  be 
corroborated  in  godliness,  so  that,  when  the 
time  of  tribulation  shall  come,  they  may  have 
the  Lord  with  them  in  their  straits,  for  verily 
tribulation  shall  come,  such  as  that  books 
useful  for  nought  shall  be  cast  aside  into 
lockers  and  dark  corners." 

This  he  said  not  because  the  reading  of 
Holy  Scripture  was  displeasing  to  him,  but 
that  he  might  withdraw  all  from  overmuch 
care  for  learning.  For  he  would  rather  that 
they  should  be  good  brethren  in  charity  than 
smatterers  in  the  curiosities  of  knowledge. 

He  also  scented  aforehand  the  times  that  in 
no  long  space  were  to  come  wherein  he  fore 
knew  that  the  knowledge  which  puffeth  up 
should  be  the  occasion  of  falling,  whence  after 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

his  death  he  did  appear  to  one  of  the  com 
panions  that  on  a  time  was  over-intent  upon 
the  study  of  preaching,  whom  he  did  rebuke 
and  warn,  bidding  him  take  good  heed  to 
walk  in  the  way  of  humility  and  simplicity. 

LXX.— That  in  the  conv  THE  Blessed  Fran- 
ing  time  o£  tribulation,  cis  said  ;  «  The  time 
they  that  shall  enter  the  shau  come  wherein, 
Order  shall  be  blessed,  and  b  the  eyil  examples 
they  that  shall  be  approved  Jc  . ,  , 
shall  be  better  than  they  °f  evl'  brethren, 
that  went  before  them.  this  Rehgion,  be- 

loved  or  Cjod,  shall 

be  diffamed  in  such  sort  as  that  she  shall  be 
ashamed  to  go  forth  in  public ;  but  they  that 
at  that  time  shall  come  to  take  the  Order 
upon  them,  shall  be  led  thereunto  by  the 
working  of  the  Holy  Spirit  only,  and  flesh  and 
blood  shall  print  no  stain  upon  them,  but  they 
shall  be  truly  blessed  of  the  Lord.  And,  albeit 
in  them  their  works  shall  not  be  meritorious, 
yet,  natheless,  for  that  the  charity  which  did 
make  the  saints  work  fervently  in  spirit  doth 
wax  cold,  exceeding  great  temptations  shall 
come  unto  them,  and  they  that  in  that  time 
shall  have  been  found  approved  shall  be  better 
than  they  that  went  before  them.  But  woe 
unto  them  that,  with  only  the  show  and 
appearance  of  religious  conversation,  and 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

applauding  themselves  on  their  own  wisdom, 
and  putting  their  trust  in  their  knowledge, 
shall  then  have  been  found  idle,  that  is,  not 
endeavouring  themselves  in  godly  works,  in 
the  way  of  the  cross  and  of  repentance,  in  the 
pure  observance  of  the  Gospel  that  by  their 
profession  they  are  bound  to  observe  in  purity 
and  simplicity  !  For  they  resist  not  with  con 
stancy  the  temptations  that  are  permitted  to 
befall  for  the  probation  of  the  elect ;  but  they 
that  shall  have  been  proven  and  approved, 
shall  receive  the  crown  of  life  whereunto  the 
malice  of  the  reprobate  doth  cause  them  to 

LXXL—  How  he  made  A     CERTAIN     corn- 

answer  to  his  companion  panion      of     the 

that  asked  him  wherefore  Blessed    Francis 

he   corrected  not  the  «.  Qnce  sM  .   «Fath 

cesses   that   did    overtake  ,  . 

the  Order  in  his  own      P^01!   me>    that 
time^  which  I  would  say 

unto    thee    hath 

already  been  considered  of  many,"  and  saith  he  : 
"Thou  knowest  how  formerly  by  the  grace  of 
God  the  whole  Religion  did  flourish  in  the  purity 
of  perfection  ;  how  all  the  brethren,  with  great 
fervour  and  solicitude,  did  in  all  things  observe 
holy  poverty,  to  wit,  in  their  small  and  sorry 
buildings  and  furniture,  their  few  and  sorry 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

books  and  habits,  and  as  in  these  so  in  all 
other  outward  matters,  they  were  of  one  will 
and  fervour  and  solicitude  to  observe  all  things 
that  pertain  to  our  profession  and  vocation, 
and  the  ensample  to  all,  and  in  like  manner 
were  they  all  of  one  mind  in  the  love  of  God 
and  of  their  neighbour,  as  men  truly  apostolic 
and  evangelic.  But  now  for  some  little  time 
past  hath  this  purity  and  perfection  begun  to 
be  changed  into  somewhat  exceeding  different, 
albeit  many  do  talk  and  excuse  the  brethren 
by  reason  of  their  multitude,  saying  that  on 
this  account  these  things  cannot  be  observed 
by  the  brethren  ;  yea,  many  brethren  have 
been  smitten  with  so  great  blindness  as  that 
the  people  is  more  edified  by  these  than  by  the 
former  things,  and  more  readily  converted  to 
devotion,  and  therefore  it  seemeth  them  that 
they  do  live  the  more  becomingly,  despising 
and  setting  at  nought  the  way  of  holy  sim 
plicity  and  poverty  that  was  the  very  beginning 
and  foundation  of  our  Religion.  Whence 
we,  taking  thought  of  these  things,  do  firmly 
believe  that  they  are  displeasing  unto  thee, 
yet  do  we  greatly  marvel  wherefore,  if  they  do 
thus  displease  thee,  thou  dost  put  up  with 
them  and  not  correct  them." 

The  Blessed  Francis  made  answer  and  said 
unto  him  :  "  The  Lord  forgive  thee,  brother, 
forasmuch  as   thou    art    minded   to   be   mine 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

adversary  against  me,  and  to  mix  me  up  with 
these  things  that  pertain  not  unto  mine  office. 
For  so  long  as  I  held  the  office  of  superior 
over  the  brethren  and  they  did  abide  in  their 
vocation  and  profession,  albeit  that  from  the 
beginning  of  my  conversion  I  have  ever  been 
ailing,  yet  with  such  small  solicitude  as  I 
could  did  I  endeavour  to  satisfy  them  both  by 
ensample  and  by  preaching ;  but  after  that  I 
perceived  how  the  Lord  did  multiply  the 
number  of  the  brethren,  and  how  they  them 
selves  by  reason  of  their  lukewarmness  and 
want  of  spirit  did  begin  to  decline  from  the 
right  way  and  safe  wherein  they  had  been 
wont  to  walk,  and  treading  the  broader  way 
that  leadeth  unto  death,  would  no  longer  pay 
heed  unto  their  calling  and  profession  nor  to 
any  good  ensample,  and  were  not  minded  to 
forsake  the  perilous  and  deadly  journey  they 
had  emprised  by  reason  of  any  preaching  or 
admonition  or  ensample  of  mine  that  I  did 
ever  manifest  before  them,  I  did,  therefore, 
resign  the  superiorship  and  the  government 
of  the  Religion  unto  God  and  unto  the 
ministers  thereof.  Whence,  albeit  that  at  the 
time  when  I  did  renounce  mine  office  of 
superior  over  the  brethren  I  did  excuse  me 
before  the  brethren  in  the  Chapter  General 
for  that,  by  reason  of  mine  infirmities,  I  was 
not  able  to  undertake  the  charge  of  them,  yet 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

natheless,  were  the  brethren  willing  to  walk 
according  to  my  will,  for  their  comfort  and 
utility  I  would  that  they  should  have  none 
other  minister  but  me  until  my  dying  day. 
From  the  time  that  a  good  and  faithful  sub 
ject  knoweth  and  observeth  the  will  of  his 
superior,  little  solicitude  need  the  superior 
have  about  him  ;  yea,  so  greatly  should  I 
rejoice  in  the  goodness  of  the  brethren,  by 
reason  of  the  gain  unto  them  and  the  gain 
unto  myself,  that  if  I  were  lying  abed  sick  it 
would  be  no  trouble  unto  me  to  satisfy  them ; 
for  that  mine  office — that  is,  the  office  of 
superior — is  spiritual  only,  to  wit,  to  have  the 
mastery  over  their  evil  ways  and  spiritually  to 
correct  and  amend  them.  But,  seeing  that  I 
cannot  correct  and  amend  them  by  preaching, 
admonition,  and  example,  I  am  not  minded  to 
become  an  executioner  to  punish  and  scourge 
them  like  the  magistrates  of  this  world. 

"  For  I  trust  in  the  Lord  that  the  invisible 
enemies  that  are  the  sergeants  of  the  Lord  for 
punishing  the  guilty  in  this  world  and  in  the 
world  to  come  will  yet  take  vengeance  on 
them  that  transgress  the  commandments  of 
God  and  the  vow  of  their  profession,  and  will 
make  them  be  corrected  by  the  men  of  this 
world  to  their  reproach  and  shame,  and  that 
so  they  may  be  turned  back  unto  their  own 
calling  and  profession. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

"Howsoever,  unto  the  day  of  my  death 
never  will  I  cease,  at  least  by  good  ensample 
and  by  good  deeds,  to  lead  the  brethren  to 
walk  in  the  way  that  the  Lord  did  point  out 
unto  me,  the  way  that  I  have  taught  and 
pointed  out  by  word  and  ensample,  so  as  that 
they  may  be  without  excuse  before  God,  and 
I  shall  not  be  bound  before  God  to  render  any 
further  account  concerning  them." 

LXXIL— That  by  the  THE    most   holy 

prayers  and  tears  of    the  father      would     not 

humble  and  simple  that      his    brethren 

brethren     are     converted  should    bg    coyetous 

f^f+rS£  of  knowledge  and 
ledge  and  preaching  of  books,  but  his 
others»  wl"  and  tnat  which 

he     preached     unto 

them  was  that  they  should  take  heed  to  be 
founded  upon  holy  humility  and  to  imitate 
pure  simplicity,  holy  prayer,  and  our  Lady 
Poverty,  wherein  the  holy  first  brethren  did 
build,  and  this  alone  he  told  them  was  the 
safe  way  to  the  salvation  of  their  own  souls 
and  the  edification  of  others,  forasmuch  as 
Christ,  to  the  imitation  of  whom  we  be 
called,  did  show  and  teach  this  way  alone  by 
word  and  likewise  by  ensample. 

For   the  blessed  father  looking  forward  to 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

things  to  be,  knew  by  the  Holy  Spirit,  and 
many  a  time  and  oft  did  say  unto  the  brethren 
that  "many  brethren  taking  occasion  from 
the  edification  of  others  will  let  go  their  own 
calling,  to  wit,  holy  humility,  pure  simplicity, 
prayer,  devotion  and  our  Lady  Poverty,  and 
it  will  come  to  pass  with  them  that  they  shall 
think  themselves  thereby  to  be  the  more  endued, 
that  is  fulfilled,  with  devotion,  and  to  glow 
more  warmly  with  the  love,  and  to  be  enlu- 
mined  more  brightly  by  the  knowledge  of 
God  by  reason  of  their  understanding  of 
Scripture.  Hence  in  time  of  trial  they  will 
remain  inwardly  cold  and  empty,  so  as  that 
they  will  not  be  able  to  turn  back  to  their 
early  calling,  for  that  the  time  for  living 
according  to  their  calling  they  have  lost  in 
vain  studies  and  false,  and  I  fear  lest  that 
which  they  did  seem  to  have  shall  be  taken 
away  from  them,  forasmuch  as  that  which 
was  given  unto  them,  to  wit,  to  hold  and 
imitate  their  calling,  they  have  altogether 

And  he  said  further :  "  Many  brethren 
there  be  that  set  all  their  study  and  all  their 
care  upon  acquiring  knowledge,  letting  go 
their  holy  calling  by  wandering  forth  both  in 
mind  and  body  beyond  the  way  of  humility 
and  holy  prayer  ;  who  when  they  have  preached 
to  the  people  and  have  learnt  that  some  have 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

thereby  been  edified  or  converted  to  repent 
ance,    are    incontinent    puffed    up    and    extol 
themselves  upon   their  work  and  the  gain  of 
another  as   if  it  had   been   their  own   gain  ; 
when  nevertheless  they  have  preached  rather 
to   their   own  condemnation    and   harm,  and 
have   done  nothing  for  themselves   according 
to  the  truth,  save  only  as  the  instruments  of 
them  through  whom   in  truth  the  Lord  hath 
gathered  in  this  harvest,  for  them  that  they 
believe  to  be  edified  and  converted  to  repent 
ance  by  their  knowledge  and   preaching,  the 
Lord  doth  in  truth  edify  and  convert  by  the 
prayers  of  the  holy,  poor,  humble  and  simple 
brethren,   albeit    the   holy    brethren    for    the 
most  part  know  not  aught  thereof,  for  thus 
is  it  the  will  of  God  they  should  know  not 
lest  haply  they  might  pride  themselves  thereon. 
"Those   brethren    be    my  knights    of  the 
Table  Round   that   do  hide  them  in  wilder 
nesses  and  lonely  places  that  they  may  give 
themselves  up  to  prayer  and  meditation  bewail 
ing  their  own  and  others'  sins,  living  simply 
and    humbly   conversing,    whose    holiness    is 
known  unto  God,  albeit  that  at  times   it  is 
unknown  to  the  brethren  and  to  men.     When 
the  souls  of  these  shall  be  presented  by  the 
angels  of  the  Lord,  then  shall  the  Lord  show 
them  the  fruit  and  wages  of  their  travail,  to 
wit,   the    many    souls    that  have  been    saved 
129  I 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

through  their  prayers  and  tears,  and  shall  say 
unto  them :  "  My  dearly  beloved  sons,  such  and 
so  many  be  the  souls  that  have  been  saved  by 
your  prayers  and  tears  and  ensamples,  and  for 
that  ye  have  been  faithful  over  a  few  things,  I 
will  make  ye  rulers  over  many  things.  Others, 
verily,  have  preached  and  laboured  in  sermons 
of  their  own  wisdom,  yet  is  it  through  your 
merits  that  I  have  wrought  the  fruit  of  salva 
tion,  wherefore  receive  ye  the  wages  of  their 
labours  as  well  as  the  fruit  of  your  merits, 
which  is  the  everlasting  kingdom  that  ye 
have  snatched  by  the  violence  of  your  sim 
plicity  and  humbleness,  and  of  your  prayers 
and  tears. 

"  And  even  thus  shall  they,  bringing  their 
sheaves,  that  is,  the  fruits  and  deservings  or 
their  holy  humility  and  simplicity,  enter  into 
the  joy  of  their  Lord  rejoicing  and  exulting. 
But  they  that  cared  for  nought  save  only  to 
know  and  to  point  out  to  others  the  way  of 
salvation,  doing  nought  as  for  themselves, 
shall  stand  naked  and  empty-handed  before 
the  judgment-seat  of  Christ,  bringing  only 
the  sheaves  of  confusion  and  of  shame  and 
of  sorrow. 

"  Then  shall  the  truth  of  holy  humility  and 

simplicity    and    of  holy    prayer    and   poverty 

that    is  our   calling,  be  exalted  and   glorified 

and  magnified,  the  which  truth  they  that  are 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

puffed  up  with  the  wind  of  knowledge  have 
disparaged  in  their  life  and  in  the  idle  sermons 
of  their  own  wisdom,  saying  that  truth  itself 
is  a  lie,  and,  as  though  they  had  been  smitten 
with  blindness,  cruelly  persecuting  them  that 
did  walk  in  the  truth. 

"  Then  shall  the  error  and  the  falsehood  of 
their  opinions  wherein  they  have  walked,  and 
which  they  have  preached  for  the  truth, 
whereby  they  have  cast  down  many  into  the 
pit  of  darkness,  come  to  an  end  in  grief  and 
confusion  and  shame,  and  they  themselves 
with  the  darkness  of  their  opinion  shall  be 
overwhelmed  in  outer  darkness  with  the  spirits 
of  darkness." 

Whence  the  Blessed  Francis  did  oftentimes 
say  upon  that  word  :  "  The  barren  hath  borne 
seven  and  she  that  hath  many  children  is 
waxed  feeble  "  :  "  The  c  barren '  is  the  good 
Religious,  simple,  humble,  poor  and  despised, 
vile  and  abject,  that  with  holy  prayers  and 
godly  works  doth  edify  others  continually,  and 
bringeth  forth  with  grievous  groaning." 

This  word  did  he  repeat  many  a  time  and 
oft  before  the  ministers  and  other  brethren, 
more  especially  in  the  Chapter  General. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

LXXIII.— How  it  was  his  THE  faithful  servant 

will  and  teaching  that  the  and  perfect  imitator 

superiors    and    preachers  of    Christ,    Francis, 

should  exercise  themselves  fee}inR    himself     in 

in  prayer    and  works    of  virtue  of  hol       hu. 

humility*  •!•       •  r 

miiity  in  a  peculiar 

manner  transformed  into  Christ,  did  desire 
humility  itself  in  his  brethren  beyond  all  other 
virtues,  and  did  most  affectionately  encourage 
them  without  ceasing  by  word  and  ensample  to 
love,  desire,  obtain  and  keep  that  grace,  and 
most  of  all  did  he  admonish  and  induce  the 
ministers  and  preachers  to  exercise  them  in 
works  of  humility. 

For  he  said  that  by  reason  of  holding  the 
office  of  superior,  or  of  devotion  to  the  cares 
of  preaching,  they  ought  not  to  omit  holy  and 
devout  prayer,  going  forth  for  alms,  working 
at  times  with  their  hands,  and  doing  other 
works  like  the  rest  of  the  brethren,  for  the 
sake  ot  good  ensample  and  the  gain  of  their 
own  and  other  souls.  He  said  moreover : 
"  Greatly  are  those  brethren  that  are  under 
them  edified  when  their  ministers  and 
preachers  give  themselves  up  to  prayer  and 
incline  them  willingly  to  works  of  humility 
and  services  of  mean  account.  For  otherwise 
cannot  they  without  confusion  and  prejudice 
and  condemnation  to  themselves  admonish 
other  brethren  as  concerning  these  matters. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

For  meet  is  it  they  should  practise  the  ensample 
of  Christ  before  they  preach  it,  and  preach 
and  practise  at  the  same  time." 

LXXIV.— How  unto  his  THE  Blessed  Francis 

own  shame  he  taught  the  once  calle(j  together 

brethren    to  know  when  a     number     of    thfi 

he  was  the  servant  of  God  ^^     and     said 

and  when  not,  ,,  T 

unto    them  :     "  1 

have  besought  the  Lord  that  He  would  deign 
to  show  me  when  I  am  His  servant  and  when 
not.  For  nought  else  do  I  desire  but  always 
to  be  His  servant.  But  the  most  gracious 
Lord  of  His  condescension  did  make  answer 
unto  me :  c  Know  that  thou  art  truly  my 
servant  while  thou  thinkest,  speakest,  and 
doest  holy  things.'  Wherefore  have  I  called 
you  brethren  together  and  notified  ye  hereof 
to  the  intent  that  I  may  be  shamed  before  ye 
whensoever  ye  shall  see  me  fail  in  any  or  in 
all  of  the  said  respects." 

LXXV.— How  he  would  THE    lukewarm, 

by  all  means  that  all  the  that  did  never  apply 

brethren     should      some*  them   earnestly  and 

umes^  labour   with    their  humbly  to  an/ busi. 

ness,  he  said  would 

quickly  be  vomited  forth  out  of  the  mouth  of 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

God.  No  idle  man  might  ever  appear  in  his 
sight  but  he  would  straightway  rebuke  him 
with  a  biting  tooth.  Forasmuch  as  he  him 
self,  the  ensample  of  all  perfection,  did  humbly 
toil  with  his  hands,  allowing  nought  of  the 
most  precious  gift  of  time  to  run  to  waste. 

For  he  said  :  "  I  will  that  all  my  brethren 
should  labour  and  exercise  them  humbly  in 
good  works  so  as  that  we  be  less  burdensome 
to  men,  and  that  neither  heart  nor  tongue 
rove  abroad  in  idleness.  Let  them  that  know 
nothing  learn  to  work." 

Howbeit  he  said  that  the  gain  and  the 
wages  of  the  labour  should  be  left  to  the 
judgment,  not  of  the  labourer,  but  to  the 
judgment  of  the  warden  or  of  the  family. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 


LXX VI. — How  he  praised  THAT  perfect  cham  - 

the  profession  of  the  Rule,  pion     and    lover    of 

and   would   that   the  the     observance     of 

brethren  should  know  the  Hol        Gospel,     the 

sa™  *nd  ta^  1theMo£  Blessed  Francis,  did 
and  die  therewithal.  ,  '  . 

most  ardently  strive 

for  the  common  profession  of  our  Rule,  which 
is  nought  other  than  the  perfect  observance  of 
the  Gospel,  and  did  endow  with  a  special  beni- 
son  all  them  that  are  and  shall  be  true  cham 
pions  thereof. 

For  this  our  profession,  would  he  say  unto 
his  imitators,  is  the  book  of  life,  the  hope  of 
salvation,  the  earnest  of  glory,  the  marrow  of 
the  Gospel,  the  way  of  the  Cross,  the  estate 
of  perfection,  the  key  of  paradise,  and  the  con 
dition  of  the  everlasting  covenant.  This  he 
would  should  be  held  of  all  and  known  of  all, 
and  he  would  that  the  brethren  in  their  dis 
courses  together  should  avoid  weariness  by 
oftentimes  conferring  thereupon,  and  in 
remembrance  of  the  oath  they  had  taken 
should  full  oft  hold  converse  with  the  inner 
man  as  concerning  the  same. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

He  taught  them,  moreover,  ever  to  carry  it 
before  their  eyes  in  perpetual  memory,  to 
remind  them  of  the  life  they  should  lead  and 
of  due  observance  of  the  Rule,  and,  what  is 
more,  it  was  his  will  and  teaching  that  the 
brethren  should  die  therewith. 

LXXVII.-0£  a  holy  lay  WHEREFORE,  of 
man  that  was  martyred  this  holy  document 
holding  the  Rule  in  his  and  institute  of  the 

most    blessed  father 

was  a  certain  lay-brother  not  forgetful,  whom 
we  do  without  doubt  believe  to  have  been 
received  into  the  choir  of  the  martyrs.  For, 
whilst  that  by  reason  of  his  zeal  for  martyrdom 
he  was  among  the  infidels,  and  was  in  the  end 
led  forth  by  the  Saracens  to  martyrdom,  hold 
ing  the  Rule  with  great  fervour  in  both  hands, 
and  humbly  bending  his  knees,  he  said  unto 
his  companion  :  "  Of  all  things  that  I  have 
done  contrary  to  this  Rule,  my  dearest  brother, 
before  the  eyes  of  the  divine  majesty  and  before 
thee  do  I  confess  me  guilty."  To  this  brief 
confession  succeeded  the  sword  whereby  ending 
his  life  he  won  the  crown  of  martyrdom.  This 
brother  it  was  that  had  entered  the  Order 
while  as  yet  but  a  lad,  and  scarce  could  endure 
the  fasting  of  the  Rule,  yet,  natheless,  stripling 
as  he  was,  he  wore  a  coat  of  mail  next  his  skin. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Happy  the  boy  that  did  thus  happily  begin  and 
no  less  happily  end  ! 

LX  XVI II.— How  he  THE  Blessed  Francis 
would  the  Religion  should  said .  «  J  w{\\  go  ancj 
always  be  under  the  pro-  commend  the  Reli- 
1  |ion  of  the  brethren 
Minor  to  the  Holy 
Roman  Church,  by  the  rod  of  whose  power 
they  that  wish  it  evil  may  be  terrified  and 
chastised,  and  the  sons  of  God  may  everywhere 
rejoice  in  full  liberty  to  the  increase  of  everlast 
ing  salvation.  May  her  sons  thereby  learn  to 
be  grateful  for  the  sweet  blessings  of  their 
Mother,  and  evermore  follow  her  reverend 
footsteps  with  devoutness  of  spirit  ! 

"  For  under  her  protection  shall  no  evil 
befall  the  Order  nor  shall  the  son  of  Belial  go 
through  the  vineyard  of  the  Lord  unpunished. 
The  Holy  Mother  herself  shall  emulate  the 
glory  of  our  poverty,  and  will  not  in  any  wise 
allow  the  renown  of  our  humility  and  the 
triumph  of  our  obedience  to  be  darkened  by 
the  clouds  of  pride.  The  chains  of  charity 
and  peace  wherewith  we  are  bounden  will  she 
preserve  unbroken,  smiting  them  that  disagree 
with  her  as  with  her  smartest  censure,  and  the 
sacred  observance  of  Gospel  purity  shall 
flourish  daily  in  her  sight,  nor  will  she  suffer 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  sweet  smell  of  our  good  report  and  of  our 
holy  conversation  to  be  given  forth  in  vain." 

LXXIX.-Of  the  four  THE  Blessed  Francis 
prerogatives  that  God  did  sajd  that  he  had 
confer  upon  the  Religion  obtained  from  thc 
anddidannounceuntothe  Lord  thege  four 
Blessed  Francis.  things,  and  that  the 

same  had  been  announced  unto  him  by  an 
angel,  to  wit,  that  the  Religion  and  pro 
fession  of  the  brethren  Minor  should  not  fail 
even  unto  the  Day  of  Judgment ;  also  that 
none  who  did  knowingly  persecute  the  Order 
should  live  long;  also  that  no  wicked  man 
that  was  minded  to  live  wickedly  in  the 
Order  should  be  able  to  abide  long  therein  ; 
also,  that  whosoever  shall  of  his  heart  love  the 
Order,  howsoever  he  may  have  sinned  shall  at 
the  last  find  mercy. 

LXXX.—  Of  the  condi-  So    great    was    the 

tions   that   he  said  were  zeal  he  had  for  the 

necessary  in    a  Minister  preserving  of  perfec- 

General  and  in  his  com*  Reljgion 

and  so  great  seemed 
him  to  be  the  perfection  of  the  profession  of 
the   Rule,  that    his    thoughts  did    often    run 
upon  who  should  be  after  his  death  sufficient 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

to  the  government  of  the  whole  Religion, 
and  the  preservation  by  God's  assistance  of 
perfection  therein,  yet  none  could  he  find 

Whence,  nigh  the  end  of  his  life,  a  certain 
brother  said  unto  him  :  "  Father,  thou  wilt 
go  hence  unto  the  Lord,  and  this  family  that 
followeth  thee  will  abide  in  the  vale  of  tears : 
notify  therefore  unto  us  if  any  there  be  in 
the  Order  thou  knowest  in  whom  thy  spirit 
can  find  rest,  and  upon  whom  the  burden  of 
the  Minister  General  may  worthily  be  laid." 

The  Blessed  Francis  made  answer,  and  all 
his  words  were  the  weightier  for  his  sighs  : 
"  My  son,  the  captain  of  an  army  so  great 
and  made  up  of  so  many  manner  of  men,  the 
shepherd  of  a  flock  so  huge  and  so  scattered 
abroad,  do  I  behold  none  that  is  sufficient  to 
be  ;  yet  one  will  I  picture  for  you  in  whom 
shall  be  seen  clearly  such  an  one  as  the 
captain  and  shepherd  of  this  family  ought 
to  be. 

<c  This  man,"  saith  he,  "  ought  to  be  one  of 
most  grave  life,  of  great  discretion,  of  laudable 
report,  without  private  affections,  lest  while  he 
loveth  a  part  more  dearly,  he  breed  scandal  to 
the  whole.  The  study  of  prayer  ought  he  to 
hold  dear,  but  so  as  that  he  distribute  certain 
hours  to  his  own  soul  and  certain  others  to 
his  flock,  for  the  first  thing  in  the  morning 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

ought  he  set  before  all  things  the  most  holy 
sacrifice  of  the  Mass,  and  therein  by  long 
devotion  most  lovingly  to  commend  himself 
and  the  flock  to  the  divine  protection.  But 
after  prayer  let  him  set  him  in  the  midst  to  be 
plucked  and  pilled  of  all,  ready  to  make 
answer  to  all  and  to  make  provision  for  all 
with  charity  and  patience  and  gentleness. 

"One  ought  he  to  be  that  accepteth  the 
person  of  none,  so  that  no  less  heed  shall  he 
pay  to  the  simple  and  foolish  than  to  the 
knowing  and  wise.  Unto  whom  if  the  gift 
of  knowledge  be  granted,  yet  in  his  dealings 
let  him  rather  bear  the  stamp  of  piety  and 
simplicity,  patience  and  humility,  and  let 
him  cherish  godliness  in  himself  and  in  others, 
and  in  preaching  godliness  let  him  evermore 
practise  the  same,  inciting  others  thereunto 
rather  by  his  ensample  than  by  his  sermons. 
Let  him  be  a  blasphemer  of  money,  the  which 
is  the  chiefest  source  of  corruption  to  our 
profession  and  perfection,  and  as  the  head  and 
pattern  to  be  imitated  of  all,  let  him  in  no 
wise  give  rise  unto  abuse  by  multiplying  of 

"  Let  it  be  enough  for  him  as  for  himself 
to  have  his  habit  and  his  little  book  -9  for 
others  his  little  basket  with  a  reed,  his  tablets 
and  a  seal.  Let  him  not  be  a  heaper  up  of 
books  nor  overmuch  given  to  reading,  lest 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

haply  he  derogate  from  his  office  that  cometh 
before  his  study.  Let  him  pitifully  console 
the  afflicted,  seeing  that  this  is  the  last  remedy 
of  them  that  suffer  tribulation,  lest  in  case  he 
have  not  wherewith  to  supply  the  remedies  of 
health  the  desperateness  of  the  disease  do  prevail 
over  them  that  are  sick.  That  he  may  bend 
the  froward  to  tractableness  let  him  prostrate 
himself,  and  remit  somewhat  of  his  rightful 
due  that  thereby  he  may  make  gain  of  a  soul. 

"  Unto  the  runagates  of  the  Order,  as  unto 
sheep  that  have  perished,  let  him  deny  not 
the  bowels  of  pity,  nor  never  refuse  them 
mercy,  knowing  that  so  overpowering  be  the 
temptations  that  can  drive  them  to  so  great  a 
downfall,  that  were  the  Lord  to  permit  him 
to  be  tried  thereby  himself,  haply  he  might 
slide  down  toward  an  even  steeper  precipice. 
I  would  that  he  should  be  honoured  by  all 
with  all  devotion  arid  reverence  as  the  vicar 
of  Christ,  and  that  in  all  things  and  by  all 
provision  should  be  made  for  him  with  all 
goodwill,  having  regard  to  his  necessity  and 
the  meanness  of  our  estate. 

"  Nevertheless  doth  it  behove  him  not  to 
look  kindly  upon  honours,  nor  to  take  delight 
in  favours  more  than  in  injuries,  so  that  his 
behaviour  be  not  changed  by  honours  save  for 
the  better.  But  in  case  at  any  time  he 
should  be  in  need  of  more  palatable  and  better 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

food,  let  him  take  it  not  by  stealth  but  in  the 
public  place,  so  that  others  may  have  no 
shame  in  providing  them  with  the  like  in 
their  ailments  and  infirmities. 

"  Specially  needful  is  it  that  he  be  able  to 
detect  the  secrets  of  conscience  and  to  search 
out  the  truth  from  hidden  sources.  All  accu 
sations  at  the  outset  let  him  hold  suspect  until 
the  truth  by  diligent  examination  doth  begin 
to  appear.  But  let  him  not  lend  ear  to  bab 
blers  ;  in  accusations  specially,  let  him  hold 
them  suspect  and  believe  them  not  easily. 
Lastly,  such  an  one  ought  he  to  be  as  never  in 
any  wise  to  warp  nor  relax  the  manly  rule  of 
equity  and  justice  through  covetousness  of 
retaining  office  ;  yet  so  nevertheless,  as  that 
the  soul  of  none  shall  be  slain  by  excess  of 
rigour ;  nor  of  excess  of  mildness  let  luke- 
warmness  be  born,  nor  let  dissolution  of  disci 
pline  be  the  outcome  of  an  over-ready  pardon. 
So  let  him  be  feared  of  all  as  that  he  may  be 
loved  of  them  that  fear.  Let  him  always  think 
and  feel  that  his  office  of  superior  is  more  of  a 
burden  than  an  honour  unto  him. 

"  I  would,  therefore,  that  he  should  have 
companions  endowed  with  honesty,  austere  as 
against  their  own  wills,  brave  in  times  of  need, 
pitiful  and  compassionate  toward  them  that 
offend,  having  an  equal  affection  toward  all, 
receiving  nought  for  their  labour  save  only 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

just  enough  for  the  pure  necessities  of  the 
body,  and  desirous  of  nought  save  the  praise  of 
God,  the  profit  of  the  Order,  the  merit  of 
their  own  souls  and  the  perfect  salvation  of 
all  the  brethren,  becomingly  courteous  toward 
all,  and  all  becomingly  courteous  toward 
them,  with  holy  cheerfulness  receiving  both  the 
form  and  ensample  of  observance  of  the  Gospel 
according  to  the  profession  of  the  Rule  in 
their  own  persons  purely  and  simply,  and 
manifesting  the  same  to  all.  Behold,  I  say, 
such  an  one  ought  the  Minister  General  to  be, 
and  such  companions  ought  he  to  have." 

LXXXL— How  the  Lord  FORASMUCH    as  ac- 

spake  unto  him  when  he  cording  to  the  mea- 

was  sore  afflicted  by  reason  sure  of  the  zeal  that 

o£  the  brethren  that  did  he    had    continuall 

decline  from  perfection.  for  ^  perfecdon  ^ 

the  Religion,  he  could  not  but  be  made  sad 
whensoever  he  did  hear  of  or  see  any  imper 
fection  therein,  when  he  began  to  understand 
that  certain  brethren  gave  an  ill  ensample  in 
the  Religion,  and  that  the  brethren  generally 
had  begun  to  decline  from  the  topmost  sum 
mit  of  their  profession,  inwardly  smitten  with 
passing  grief  of  heart,  he  said  unto  the  Lord 
once  in  prayer :  "  Lord,  unto  Thee  do  I 
resign  the  family  that  Thou  didst  give  me." 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

And  the  Lord  said  straightway  unto  him  : 
"  Tell  me,  O  thou  simple  and  foolish  manni- 
kin,  wherefore  dost  thou  sorrow  so  sore  when 
some  man  goeth  forth  of  the  Religion  and 
when  the  brethren  walk  not  by  the  way  that 
I  did  show  thee  ?  Tell  me,  moreover,  who 
was  it  that  planted  this  Religion  of  the 
brethren  ?  Who  is  it  that  maketh  a  man  be 
converted  to  repentance  ?  Who  is  it  that 
giveth  him  strength  to  persevere  therein  ?  Is 
it  not  I  ?  I  chose  thee  not  over  My  family 
for  that  thou  wert  a  man  learned  and  eloquent, 
forasmuch  as  I  willed  not  that  thou  nor  they 
that  were  true  brethren  and  true  observers  of 
the  Rule  that  I  did  give  unto  thee  should  walk 
in  the  way  of  learning  and  eloquence.  But  I 
chose  thee,  simple  and  foolish  as  thou  art,  that 
both  thou  and  others  may  know  how  it  is  I 
that  shall  keep  watch  over  My  flock,  and  I 
have  set  thee  as  a  sign  unto  them  that  the 
works  which  I  work  in  thee,  they  also  should 
work  in  themselves.  For  they  that  walk  in 
the  way  that  I  have  showed  unto  thee,  have 
Me,  and  Me  shall  Jiey  have  yet  more  abun 
dantly  ;  but  they  that  will  to  walk  in  the 
other  way,  from  them  shall  be  taken  away 
even  that  which  they  do  seem  to  have. 

"  Wherefore   I  say   unto  thee,  grieve  not 
thou   so  sore   henceforth,   but   do   that    thou 
doest,  work  that  thou  workest,  seeing  that  in 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

abiding  charity  have  I  planted  the  Religion  of 
the  brethren.  Hence  mayst  thou  know  how 
greatly  I  love  them;  if  any  one  of  the  brethren, 
returning  to  his  vomit,  shall  die  beyond  the 
pale  of  the  Religion,  another  will  I  send  into 
the  Religion  that  shall  have  his  crown  in  his 
stead,  and  if  such  an  one  be  not  yet  born,  yet 
him  will  I  make  be  born.  And,  that  thou 
mayst  know  how  greatly  I  do  love  the  life  and 
the  Religion  of  the  brethren  of  mine  own  free 
will,  were  it  so  that  in  the  whole  Religion  did 
remain  but  three  brethren  only,  yet  even  then 
shall  it  be  My  Religion,  and  I  will  not  forsake 
it  for  ever  !  " 

And  when  he  had  heard  these  things,  his 
spirit  did  abide  marvellously  comforted.  And 
albeit  for  the  passing  zeal  that  he  ever  had  for 
the  perfection  of  the  Religion,  he  could  not  so 
contain  himself  but  that  he  should  be  mightily 
grieved  with  all  his  heart  when  that  he  heard 
of  any  fall  from  perfection  among  the  brethren 
whereby  an  evil  example  might  be  set  or  a 
scandal  arise,  yet  natheless,  after  that  he  had 
been  thus  comforted  of  the  Lord,  he  did  call 
to  mind  that  word  of  the  psalm  :  " c  I  have 
sworn  and  I  will  perform  it,  that  I  will  keep 
Thy  righteous  judgments,'  and  observe  the 
Rule  that  the  Lord  Himself  did  give  unto  me 
and  unto  them  that  would  imitate  me. 

"Moreover all  the  brethren  have  bound  them 
145  K 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

hereunto  even  as  have  I.  And  therefore  after 
that  I  did  resign  mine  office  over  the  brethren 
by  reason  of  mine  infirmities  and  other  reason 
able  causes,  I  am  not  henceforth  held  to  aught 
save  only  to  pray  for  the  Religion  and  to  set 
a  good  ensample  unto  the  brethren  ;  for  this 
have  I  of  the  Lord  and  do  know  for  a  truth, 
that  even  were  it  that  mine  infirmity  excused 
me  not,  the  most  help  that  I  could  render  the 
Religion  is  that  every  day  I  should  give  myself 
to  prayer  unto  the  Lord  for  it,  that  He  will 
govern  and  preserve  and  protect  the  same. 
For  herein  have  I  bound  me  unto  the  Lord 
and  unto  the  brethren,  that  and  any  one  of 
the  brethren  should  perish  through  evil  en^ 
sample  of  mine,  I  am  willing  to  undertake  that 
the  Lord  should  hold  me  answerable  in  his 

These  words  he  spake  within  himself  to 
quiet  his  own  heart,  and  he  himself  moreover 
did  oftentimes  expound  the  same  unto  the 
brethren  in  discoursing  on  the  words  of 
Scripture  and  in  the  Chapters. 

Whence,  if  any  brother  should  tell  him  at 
any  time  that  he  ought  to  interfere  in  the 
governing  of  the  Order,  he  would  make 
answer,  saying  :  "  The  brethren  have  their 
Rule  and  have  sworn  to  observe  it,  and  that 
they  may  have  no  excuse  on  my  account,  after 
that  it  pleased  the  Lord  to  appoint  me  to  be 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

superior  over  them,  I  did  swear  before  them 
that  I  myself  in  like  manner  would  observe 
the  same.  Whence,  sithence  that  the  brethren 
know  what  they  ought  to  do,  and  moreover, 
what  to  avoid,  nought  remaineth  save  that  I 
should  teach  them  by  works,  seeing  that  for 
this  was  I  given  unto  them  in  my  life  and 
after  my  death." 

LXXXH.— Of  the  special  BEYOND  all  other 
zeal  that  he  had  unto  the  places  of  the  Order, 
place  of  the  Blessed  Mary  a  ial  zeal  and 

of  the  Little  Portion,  and  {  fond_ 

of  the  ordinances  that  he  u    j    u      u-    rr 

made  therein  against  idle  ness  had  he,  hls  hufe 
words.  long  m  making  be 

observed  all  perfec 
tion  of  life  and  conversation  in  the  holy  place 
of  S.  Mary  of  the  Angels,  as  in  the  head  and 
mother  of  the  whole  Religion,  intending  and 
willing  that  this  place  should  be  the  pattern 
and  ensample  of  humility  and  poverty  and 
every  Gospel  perfection  unto  all  other  places, 
and  that  the  brethren  therein  abiding  ought 
ever  to  be  beyond  the  rest  of  the  brethren 
circumspect  and  solicitous  in  doing  and  avoid 
ing  all  such  things  as  pertain  unto  a  perfect 
observance  of  the  Rule. 

Whence  on  a  time,  for  the    avoiding    or 
idleness  that  is  the  root  of  all  evil,  and  espe- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

daily  in  a  Religious,  on  a  certain  day  he 
made  ordinance  that  after  meat,  the  brethren 
together  with  himself  should  forthwith  exer 
cise  them  in  some  work,  lest  the  good  that 
they  had  gained  in  time  of  prayer  should  be 
wholly  or  in  part  wasted  in  vain  and  idle 
words  whereunto  a  man  after  meat  is  mostly 

Moreover  he  made  ordinance  and  com 
manded  the  same  to  be  firmly  observed,  that 
if  any  of  the  brethren  doing  nothing  or  at 
work  on  anything  should  utter  any  idle  word 
among  the  brethren,  he  should  be  bound  to 
say  one  Pater  Noster^  praising  God  at  the 
beginning  and  at  the  end  of  the  prayer,  but 
so  nevertheless,  that  if  haply  conscious  of  his 
lapse,  he  should  first  have  blamed  himself  for 
that  he  had  committed,  he  should  say  the 
Pater  Noster  for  his  own  soul  with  the  Laudes 
Domino  as  aforesaid,  but  and  it  were  that  he 
should  be  first  reproved  thereof  by  one  of  the 
brethren,  he  should  be  bound  to  say  the  Pater 
Noster  for  the  soul  of  the  brother  so  reproving 
him.  But  in  case  he  that  was  reproved  did 
excuse  himself  and  would  not  say  the  Pater 
Noster^  he  should  in  like  manner  be  bound  to 
say  two  Pater  Nosters  for  the  soul  of  the 
brother  that  did  reprove  him.  But  if  on  his 
own  or  others'  witness  it  shall  be  proven  true 
that  he  did  speak  that  idle  word,  he  shall  say  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

said  Laudes  Deo  at  the  beginning  and  end  of 
the  prayer  loud  enough  to  be  heard  or  under 
stood  of  all  the  brethren  standing  by,  the 
which  brethren  whilst  that  he  sayeth  the 
same  shall  hold  their  peace  and  hearken  there 
unto.  But  in  case  any  brother  listening  and 
hearing  a  brother  speak  an  idle  word  shall 
hold  his  peace  and  shall  not  reprove  him,  let 
him  in  like  manner  be  held  to  say  one  Pater 
Noster  with  the  Laudes  Deo  for  the  soul  of 
him  that  speaketh  the  idle  word. 

And  whatsoever  brother  entering  a  cell  or 
house  or  any  place  wherein  he  shall  find  another 
brother  or  other  brethren,  he  ought  forthwith 
to  bless  and  praise  God  devoutly. 

These  Laudes  Domino  the  most  holy  father 
was  ever  careful  himself  to  say,  and  with  most 
earnest  will  and  desire  did  teach  and  incite 
the  other  brethren  to  say  the  same  lauds  heed- 
fully  and  devoutly. 

LXXXIIL-How  he  did  ALBEIT  the  Blessed 

admonish     the     brethren  Francis    knew    that 

that    they    should    never  the      Kingdom      of 

forsake  this  place.  Heayen     g^    been 

stablished  in  every  quarter  of  the  earth  and 
did  believe  that  in  every  place  the  grace  of 
God  might  be  given  unto  His  elect,  yet  nathe- 
less,  did  he  know  by  experience  that  the  place 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

of  the  Blessed  Mary  of  the  Little  Portion 
was  fulfilled  of  more  abundant  grace  and  was 
haunted  by  the  visitation  of  heavenly  spirits 
from  on  high. 

For  this  reason  would  he  often  say  unto  the 
brethren  :  "  See,  O  my  sons,  that  never  do  ye 
forsake  this  place.  If  that  ye  be  thrust  forth 
on  the  one  side,  enter  ye  by  the  other,  for  this 
place  is  holy  and  the  dwelling  place  of  Christ 
and  of  the  Virgin  His  Mother.  Here  when 
we  were  few  did  the  Most  High  give  us 
increase  j  here  by  the  light  of  His  wisdom  did 
He  enlumine  the  souls  of  His  poor  ;  here  by 
the  fire  of  His  love  did  He  kindle  our  wills. 
Here,  whosoever  shall  pray  with  a  devout 
heart,  shall  obtain  that  which  he  doth  desire, 
and  he  that  doth  offend  shall  the  more  griev 
ously  be  punished.  Wherefore,  O  my  sons, 
hold  ye  this  place  most  worthy  of  all  reverence 
and  honour,  as  in  very  truth  the  dwelling  place 
of  God,  specially  beloved  of  Him  and  of  His 
Mother ;  and  therein  with  all  your  heart, 
with  the  voice  of  exultation  and  of  confession, 
confess  ye  to  God  the  Father  and  to  His  Son 
our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  in  the  unity  of  the 
Holy  Spirit!" 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

LXXXIV,-Of  the  pre-      Holy    of  Holies  is  this 
rogatives   that    the    Lord  Place  of  Places, 

wrought  in  the    place  of       {Meetly  held  worthy  of 
S.  Mary  of  the  Angels.  surpassing  honour  ! 

Happy  thereof  the  surname,  "  Of  the  Angels" 
Happier  yet  the  name,  "  T4e  Blessed  tMary." 

Now,  a  true  omen,  the  third  name  conferreth 
"  The  Little  "Portion  "  on  the  Little  Brethren, 
Here,  where  by  night  a  presence  oft  of  jtngels 
Singing  sweet  hymns  illumine th  the  watches. 

Fallen  it  lay  when  Francis  did  upraise  it, 
Of  the  three  churches  his  own  hand  rebuilded 
Choosing  this  one  wherein  to  don  the  sack- cloth, 
finding  the  Jlesh  in  fetters  of  the  spirit. 

Here  in  this  holy  precinct  was  begotten 
Erstwhile  our  Order  of  the  Brethren  fMinor  ; 
Here  shall  be  found  that  throng  of  saints  for  ever 
Whilst  they  still  take  ens  ample  of  their  father. 

First  to  be  shorn  as  vowed  to  Christ  her  Lover, 
Clara  did  here  forsake  the  world  to  jind  Him, 
{Mother  of  noble  brethren  and  of  sisters 
'Bringing    back   Christ   to   men    through   their 

Here  was  the  old  world* s  broad  highway  made 


Here  the  way  broader  for  the  Chosen  People ; 
Here  grew  the  Rule;  here  Poverty,  our  Lady, 
Smiting   down  pride,   called  back    the    Cross 

amongst  us. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Francis  sore  troubled,  weary  of  his  burden, 
Here   fndeth    peace;   Ms    sorrows   here   have 

healing  ; 

Here  is  the  truth  made  clear  whereof  he  doubted^ 
Here  all  the  father  prayethfor  is  granted. 


LXXXV.— And  first,  how  THE  most  Blessed 
he  did  describe  unto  them  father,  as  it  were 
a  perfect  brother.  transformed  in  some 

sort  into  the  holy  brethren,  out  of  the  burning 
of  the  love  and  the  fervency  of  the  zeal  that 
he  had  toward  their  perfection,  did  often 
meditate  within  himself  what  were  the  condi 
tions  and  virtues  wherewith  a  good  brother 
Minor  must  needs  be  adorned.  And  he  said 
that  a  good  brother  Minor  would  be  he  that 
had  the  life  and  conditions  of  these  holy 
brethren,  to  wit :  the  faith  of  brother  Bernard, 
that  he  had  in  absolute  perfection  along  with 
the  love  of  poverty;  the  simplicity  and  purity 
of  brother  Leo,  that  in  truth  was  of  a  most 
holy  purity  ;  the  courtesy  of  brother  Angelo, 
that  was  the  first  soldier  to  come  into  the 
Order,  and  was  fulfilled  of  all  courtesy  and 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

kindness  ;  the  gracious  aspect  and  natural 
sense  with  fair  and  devout  eloquence  of 
brother  Masseo  j  the  mind  lifted  up  in  con 
templation  that  brother  Egidio  had  even  to 
the  highest  perfection  ;  the  godly  and  con 
tinual  activity  of  the  holy  Rufinus,  that  did 
always  pray  without  intermission,  so  as  that 
even  asleep  or  at  work  his  mind  was  always 
with  the  Lord;  the  patience  of  brother  Juniper, 
that  did  attain  to  a  state  of  perfect  patience 
by  reason  of  the  perfect  renunciation  of  his 
own  will  that  he  did  set  before  his  eyes,  and 
his  surpassing  desire  to  imitate  Christ  by  the 
way  of  the  Cross ;  the  bodily  and  spiritual 
strength  of  brother  John  de  Laudibus,  that  at 
that  time  was  strong  in  the  body  above  all 
men  ;  the  charity  of  brother  Rogero,  whose 
whole  life  and  conversation  was  in  the  fer 
vency  of  charity  ;  and  the  solicitude  of  brother 
Lucido  that  was  ever  passing  solicitous  and 
was  never  minded  to  stay  in  a  place  more 
than  a  month  or  so,  but  when  he  liked  staying 
in  any  place  would  forthwith  depart  there 
from,  saying :  "  Not  here  but  in  Heaven  is 
our  place  of  abiding." 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

LXXXVL— How  he  did      AMONG     the    other 
describe  wanton  eyes,  that      virtues  that  he  loved 
he    might    induce    the      and  did  desire  should 
brethren     to    honourable       i       •      „,       u      , 
living.  be   m  the  brethren, 

next  to  the  founda 
tion  of  holy  humility  he  did  chiefly  love  the 
comeliness  and  cleanliness  of  chastity.  Whence, 
being  minded  to  teach  the  brethren  to  have 
chaste  eyes,  he  was  wont  to  figure  wanton 
eyes  under  this  similitude.  A  King,  pious 
and  powerful,  sent  to  the  Queen  two  messengers 
the  one  after  the  other.  The  first  returneth 
and  bringeth  back  the  message  word  for  word 
and  saith  nought  of  the  Queen,  forasmuch  as 
he  had  wisely  kept  his  eyes  in  his  head  so  that 
they  had  not  leapt  out  were  it  never  so  little 
toward  the  Queen.  The  other  returneth  and 
after  a  few  words  doth  begin  to  weave  a  long 
history  as  concerning  the  beauty  of  the 
Queen.  "  Verily,  my  lord,"  saith  he,  "  a 
passing  fair  woman  have  I  seen  ;  happy  he 
that  doth  enjoy  her  !  " 

And  the  King  unto  him  :  <c  Thou  wicked 
servant,  thou  hast  cast  wanton  eyes  upon  my 
Queen  !  It  is  clear  that  thou  wouldst  fain 
have  procured  by  craft  that  which  thou  didst 
look  upon  ! " 

He  biddeth  therefore  the  first  be  called  and 
saith  unto  him,  "  How  seemeth  unto  thee  of 
the  Queen  ?  "    "  Excellent  well,  meseemeth," 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

saith  he,  "for  that  she  did  willingly  and 
patiently  hearken  unto  me."  Thus  wisely 
made  he  answer,  and  the  King  saith  unto 
him  :  "  Is  there  any  comeliness  in  her  or 
not  ?  "  He  answereth  :  "  My  lord,  to  look 
upon  her  comeliness  is  yours  ;  mine  was  it 
only  to  carry  the  words  of  my  message." 
The  King  giveth  sentence  :  "  Thou,"  saith 
•he,  c<  hast  chaste  eyes,  be  thou  in  my  chamber 
yet  more  chaste  of  thy  body,  and  enjoy 
my  delights.  But  let  this  wanton  one  go 
forth  of  the  house  lest  he  pollute  my 
chamber  !  " 

He  said  therefore :  "  Who  ought  not    be 
afeard  to  look  upon  the  Spouse  of  Christ  ?  " 

LXXXVII.-Of   three  ON  a  time  when  by 

words  that  he  left   unto  reason  of  an  infirmity 

the   brethren  to  preserve  of   the    stomach    he 

their  perfection.  would  ^  vomitj  Qn 

account  of  the  exceeding  great  violence  he  did 
unto  himself,  he  vomited  blood  throughout  all  the 
night  until  matins, and  when  his  companions  did 
behold  him  die,  as  it  were,  through  exceeding 
weakness  and  affliction,  with  sore  grief  and 
shedding  of  tears  they  said  unto  him:  "  Father, 
what  shall  we  do  without  thee  ?  Unto  whom 
wilt  thou  leave  us  orphans  ?  Thou  hast  ever 
been  a  father  and  a  mother  unto  us,  begetting 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  bringing  us  forth  in  Christ.  Thou  hast 
been  unto  us  a  captain  and  shepherd,  a  master 
and  corrector,  teaching  and  correcting  us  more 
by  ensample  than  by  word  !  Whither  there 
fore  shall  we  go,  sheep  without  a  shepherd, 
orphan  sons  without  a  father,  rude  men  and 
simple  without  a  captain  ? 

"  Whither  shall  we  go  seek  thee,  O  glory 
of  poverty,  praise  of  simplicity,  honour  of  our 
vileness  ?  Who  hereafter  shall  show  us  blind 
men  the  way  of  truth  ?  Where  will  be  the 
mouth  that  spake  unto  us  and  the  tongue  that 
gave  us  counsel  ?  Where  will  be  the  fervent 
spirit  directing  us  in  the  way  of  the  Cross, 
and  comforting  us  even  unto  Gospel  per-" 
fection  ?  Where  wilt  thou  be,  that  we  may 
betake  us  unto  thee,  thou  light  of  our  eyes, 
that  we  may  seek  thee  out,  thou  comforter  of 
our  souls  ?  Behold,  thou  diest,  father  !  Be 
hold,  thou  dost  thus  leave  us  desolate,  forsaking 
us  in  our  sadness  and  bitter  loss  ! 

"  Behold,  the  day  draweth  nigh,  the  day  of 
weeping  and  bitterness,  the  day  of  desolation 
and  sorrow  !  Lo,  the  bitter  day  that  we  have 
dreaded  to  look  upon  ever  sithence  that  we 
were  with  thee,  yea,  that  we  could  not  even 
think  upon  !  Truly,  no  marvel  is  this,  for 
thy  life  hath  been  unto  us  for  a  continual 
light,  and  thy  words  for  burning  torches 
lighting  us  evermore  on  the  way  of  the  Cross 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

to  Gospel  perfection,  to  the  love  and  imitation 
of  the  most  sweet  Crucified  ! 

"  Wherefore,  father,  at  least  give  thy  bless 
ing  unto  us  and  unto  thy  other  sons  whom  thou 
hast  begotten  in  Christ,  and  leave  us  some 
memorial  of  thy  will,  that  the  brethren  may 
have  thee  ever  in  remembrance  and  may  be 
able  to  say  :  'These  words  did  our  father 
leave  unto  us  his  brethren  and  sons  at  his 
death.' " 

Then  did  the  most  pitiful  father  turn  his 
fatherly  eyes  upon  his  sons,  and  said  unto 
them:  "Call  unto  me  brother  Benedict  de 
Pirato."  For  that  brother  was  a  holy  priest 
and  discreet,  that  did  celebrate  ,unto  the 
Blessed  Francis  whensoever  he  lay  sick,  for 
that  always  when  he  was  able,  was  he  minded 
to  have  or  to  hear  Mass,  howsoever  feeble  he 
might  be. 

And  when  he  had  come,  he  said  unto  him  : 
"  Write  how  that  I  do  give  my  blessing  unto 
all  my  brethren  that  are  in  the  Religion  ana 
unto  them  that  shall  come  after  even  unto  the 
world's  end.  And,  for  that  by  reason  of  my 
weakness  and  the  pain  of  mine  infirmity  I  am 
not  able  to  speak  much,  in  these  three  words 
do  I  briefly  lay  open  my  will  and  intention 
unto  all  the  brethren  present  and  to  be  ;  to 
wit,  that  in  token  of  my  remembrance  and 
blessing  and  testament,  let  them  evermore 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

love  one  another  even  as  I  have  loved  them, 
let  them  evermore  love  and  observe  our  Lady 
Poverty,  and  evermore  be  faithful  and  loyal 
lieges  to  the  prelates  and  clergy  of  Holy 
Mother  Church." 

For  thus  was  our  father  in  the  Chapters  of 
the  brethren  always  wont  at  the  end  of  the 
Chapter  to  give  his  blessing  and  absolution  to 
all  the  brethren  in  the  Religion  present  and 
to  come,  and  even  out  of  Chapter  in  the  fer 
vency  of  his  charity  would  he  many  a  time  do 
the  same.  Moreover  he  would  admonish  the 
brethren  that  they  should  dread  all  evil  en- 
sample  and  beware  of  following  the  same,  and 
his  curse  did  he  leave  unto  all  them  that  by 
evil  ensample  should  provoke  men  to  blaspheme 
the  Religion  and  life  of  the  brethren,  for  that 
good  and  holy  poor  men  be  thereby  shamed 
and  sorely  afflicted. 

LXXXVIII.— Of  the  love  ONE  night   the 

that  he  showed  unto  the  Blessed  Francis  was 

brethren  when   nigh  his  grieved    so    sore   by 

death  by  giving  to  each  a  the          in    of     his 

morsel    of    bread    as   did  infirmities     that     as 

that  night  he  could 

neither  rest  nor  sleep.     But  on  the  morrow, 

when  his  pains  were  some   little  abated,   he 

bade   call  all  the  brethren  that  were  in   the 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

place,  and  beholding  them  as  they  sate  before 
him,  he  did  look  upon  them  as  though  all  the 
brethren  were  there  present  in  their  persons. 

And  setting  his  right  hand  upon  the  head 
of  each,  he  gave  his  blessing  unto  all  of  the 
Order,  present,  absent  and  to  come  even  unto 
the  world's  end.  And  he  did  seem  as  it  were 
to  have  compassion  on  himself  for  that  he 
might  not  look  upon  all  his  brethren  and  sons 
before  his  death. 

But  for  that  he  was  fain  in  his  own  death 
to  imitate  his  Lord  and  Master,  whom  in  his 
life  he  had  imitated  perfectly,  he  bade  breads 
be  brought  unto  him  and  blessed  them,  and 
did  make  them  be  broken  into  many  pieces, 
for  that  by  reason  of  his  too  great  feebleness 
he  was  not  able  himself  to  break  them.  And 
taking  the  bread,  he  held  forth  a  morsel  unto 
each  of  the  brethren,  enjoining  him  to  eat  the 
whole  thereof. 

For  even  as  our  Lord  before  His  death  was 
minded  to  eat  with  the  apostles  on  the  fifth 
day  of  the  week  in  token  of  His  love,  so  was 
the  Blessed  Francis,  His  perfect  imitator,  fain 
to  show  his  brethren  the  same  token  of  his 
love.  And  that  he  was  fain  to  do  this  after 
the  similitude  of  Christ  is  clearly  manifest 
hereby,  for  that  he  did  ask  afterward  whether 
it  were  then  the  fifth  day  of  the  week. 

But  one  of  the  brethren  did  reserve  a  morsel 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

of  that  bread  and  after  the  death  of  the  Blessed 
Francis,  many  sick  folk  that  did  taste  thereof 
were  straightway  healed  of  their  infirmities. 

LX XXIX.— How  he  WHEN  by  reason  or 
feared  lest  any  tribulation  tne  pain  of  his  ail- 
should  befall  the  brethren  ments  he  was  not 
by  reason  of  his  infirmi*  ablg  tQ  take  ^ 

and  saw  that  thereby 

the  brethren  were  much  distraught  and  wearied 
on  his  account,  for  that  hitherto  he  had  ever 
loved  the  souls  of  the  brethren  more  than  his 
own  body,  he  did  begin  to  fear  lest  the  brethren 
out  of  their  exceeding  travail  in  attending  to 
his  necessities  might  incur  some  offence,  even 
were  it  the  least,  against  God  by  reason  of 
some  impatience. 

Whence  on  a  time  with  pity  and  compassion 
he  said  unto  his  companions :  "  My  best- 
beloved  brethren  and  little  children,  let  it  not 
be  a  weariness  unto  ye  to  travail  on  behalf  of 
mine  infirmity,  seeing  that  the  Lord  on  be 
half  of  me  His  little  servant  shall  in  this  world 
and  the  next  repay  ye  all  the  fruit  of  those 
your  works  that  by  reason  of  your  solicitude 
for  my  infirmity  ye  cannot  now  perform ; 
yea,  greater  gain  do  ye  hereby  achieve  than 
were  ye  to  labour  for  yourselves,  seeing  that 
He  which  succoureth  me  doth  succour  the 
1 60 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

whole  Religion  and  life  of  the  brethren. 
Yea,  verily,  ye  may  say  thus  :  c  Upon  thee 
do  we  spend  our  charges,  and  in  thy  stead 
shall  the  Lord  be  a  debtor  unto  us.' " 

But  this  the  holy  father  said  being  fain  to 
succour  and  raise  their  drooping  spirit  for  the 
passing  great  zeal  that  he  had  toward  the  per 
fection  of  his  souls.  For  he  feared  lest  they 
might  be  tempted  at  times  under  stress  of  that 
travail  to  say  :  "  We  cannot  pray  nor  endure 
so  sore  travail,"  and  thus  might  become  over 
wearied  and  thereby  impatient,  so  as  that  they 
might  haply  be  losers  of  great  gain  in  return 
for  a  small  labour. 

XC.— How  he  did  ad-  AFTER  that  the 
monish  the  sisters  of  Blessed  Francis  had 
S.  Clara,  made  his  "Praises 

unto  the  Lord  of  His  creatures,"  he  made  also 
certain  holy  words  with  music  for  the  com 
forting  and  edification  of  the  Poor  Ladies, 
knowing  that  they  were  sore  troubled  by 
reason  of  his  infirmity.  And  for  that  he  was 
not  able  to  visit  them  in  person,  he  sent  the 
words  unto  them  by  the  companions.  For  he 
was  fain  in  those  words  to  lay  open  his  will 
unto  them,  to  wit,  how  they  ought  to  live 
and  converse  humbly  and  be  of  one  mind  in 
charity.  For  he  perceived  that  their  conversion 
161  L 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  holy  conversation  did  not  only  tend  to  the 
exaltation  of  the  brethrens'  Religion  but  to 
the  exceeding  great  edification  of  the  Church 

But  knowing  that  from  the  beginning  of 
their  conversion  they  had  led  a  life  passing 
strait  and  poverty-stricken,  he  was  moved  with 
pity  and  compassion  toward  them.  Whence 
in  those  same  words  he  besought  them  that 
even  as  the  Lord  from  many  parts  had 
assembled  them  together  in  one  to  holy 
charity,  holy  poverty  and  holy  obedience,  so 
ought  they  ever  to  live  and  to  die  therein. 
A.nd  specially  did  he  admonish  them  that  out 
of  such  alms  as  the  Lord  might  give  them 
they  should  discreetly  make  provision  for  their 
bodies  with  cheerfulness  and  thanksgiving,  and 
most  of  all,  how  they  that  were  heal  in  their 
toils  that  they  did  undergo  on  behalf  of  their 
sick  sisters,  and  they  themselves  that  were 
sick  should  also  be  patient  in  their  infirmities. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 


XCL— And  first,  that  he  SucHwas  the  Blessed 
paid  no  need  unto  his  own  Francis'  fervency  of 
infirmities  for  the  love  of  i  i  y. 

Christ's  Passion.  love  ar]d  c°™passion 

toward     the    pangs 

and  sufferings  of  Christ,  and  so  sorely  did  he 
daily  afflict  himself  both  inwardly  and  out 
wardly  on  account  of  the  Passion  itself,  that 
he  heeded  not  his  own  infirmities.  Whence 
albeit  that  of  a  long  time  and  unto  his  dying 
day  he  suffered  ailments  of  the  stomach  and 
liver  and  spleen,  and  from  the  time  that  he 
returned  from  beyond  sea  had  continual 
exceeding  great  pain  of  the  eyes,  yet  would 
he  never  thereof  take  any  pains  to  make  him 
be  heal. 

Whence  the  lord  Bishop  of  Ostia  seeing 
that  he  was  and  ever  had  been  so  austere  as 
concerning  his  own  body,  and  most  of  all  for 
that  he  had  begun  already  to  lose  the  sight  of 
his  eyes  and  for  that  he  was  not  minded  to 
make  him  be  healed  thereof,  did  with  much 
pity  and  compassion  admonish  him,  saying  : 
"  Brother,  thou  dost  not  well  in  that  thou  dost 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

not  make  thee  be  healed,  for  thy  life  and  health 
be  of  exceeding  great  usefulness  to  the  brethren 
and  lay-folk  and  to  the  whole  Church.  For 
seeing  that  thou  hast  compassion  on  thy  sick 
brethren,  and  hast  ever  been  pitiful  and 
merciful-hearted  toward  them,  thou  oughtest 
not  to  be  cruel  unto  thyself  in  so  sore  neces 
sity.  Wherefore  I  do  enjoin  thee  that  thou 
make  thee  be  healed  and  succoured." 

For  the  most  holy  father  himself  did  always 
take  aught  bitter  as  it  had  been  sweet,  for  that 
he  did  evermore  draw  forth  a  passing  great 
sweetness  from  the  humility  and  the  footprints 
of  the  Son  of  God. 

XCII.— How  he  was  found  NOT  long  after  his 
going  bewailing  in  a  loud  conversion  when  he 
voice  the  Passion  of  was  Walking  on  a 
Christ.  time  on  the  way  not 

far  from  the  church  of  the  Blessed  Mary  of 
the  Little  Portion,  he  went  making  lamenta 
tion  in  a  loud  voice.  But  a  certain  spiritual 
man  met  him,  and  fearing  that  he  had  a  pain 
from  some  sickness,  said  unto  him  :  "  What 
aileth  thee,  brother  ?  "  But  he  made  answer : 
"  Thus  ought  I  to  go  throughout  the  whole 
world  without  shame,  bewailing  the  Passion 
of  my  Lord." 

Thereupon  he  also  did  begin  to  lament  sore 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  to  shed  tears.  This  man  we  knew  and 
understood  this  from  himself,  and  much  com 
fort  and  pity  did  he  make  for  the  Blessed 
Francis  and  for  us  his  companions. 

XCIIL— How  the  joyous  DRUNKEN  with  the 

songs  that  he  did  some^  love  and  compassion 

times  make  out  of  doors  of  Christ,  the  Blessed 

would  be  turned  into  tears  Francis     would     at 

and  pity  for  Christ.  dmes    do     such_like 

things  as  this  ;  for  the  passing  sweet  melody  of 
the  spirit  within  him,  seething  over  outwardly 
did  oftentimes  find  utterance  in  the  French 
tongue,  and  the  strain  of  the  divine  whisper 
that  his  ear  had  caught  would  break  forth  into 
a  French  song  of  joyous  exulting.  At  times 
he  would  pick  up  a  stick  from  the  ground  and 
setting  it  upon  his  left  shoulder,  would  draw 
another  stick  after  the  manner  of  a  bow  with 
his  right  hand  athwart  the  same  as  athwart  a 
viol  or  other  instrument,  and  making  befitting 
gestures  would  sing  in  French  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ.  But  all  this  show  of  joyance 
would  be  ended  in  tears  and  the  exultation 
would  die  out  in  pity  of  Christ's  Passion. 
And  in  tears  would  he  abide,  drawing  deep 
sighs  and  with  redoubled  lamentations  would 
he  hang  suspended  from  heaven,  forgetful  of 
that  which  he  did  hold  in  his  hands  the  while 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 


XCIV*—  And  first,  of  ALBEIT  that  for 
prayer  and  the  Divine  many  years  he  was 
Office,  afflicted  with  the 

said  infirmities,  yet  natheless  so  devout  was  he 
and  reverent  at  his  orisons  and  at  the  Divine 
Office,  that  at  such  time  as  he  was  praying  or 
even  saying  his  canonical  Hours,  never  would 
he  lean  against  a  wall  or  the  jamb  of  a  door, 
but  would  always  stand  upright  and  bare 
headed,  or  at  times  upon  his  knees  ;  and  all 
the  more  for  that  the  greater  part  of  the  day 
and  night  he  did  give  himself  up  to  prayer  ; 
yea,  when  he  went  about  the  world  afoot,  he 
would  always  stand  still  when  he  would  say  his 
Hours,  and  if  it  were  that  he  were  riding  by 
reason  of  his  infirmities,  yet  would  he  always 
alight  to  say  the  Office. 

Hence,  on  a  time  when  it  was  raining 
exceeding  heavily  and  he  by  reason  of  his 
infirmity  and  passing  great  necessity  was  rid 
ing  a- horseback,  when  that  he  was  already  all 
bathed  in  wet,  he  alighted  of  his  horse  when 
1 66 

Saint  Francis  oi  Assist 

he  would  say  his  Hours,  and  with  as  great 
fervency  of  devotion  and  reverence  said  tht 
Office  thus  standing  in  the  road  with  the  rain 
continually  pouring  upon  him  as  had  he  been 
in  a  church  or  a  cell.  And  saith  he  to  his 
companion  :  "  If  the  body  would  fain  eat  his 
meat,  that  with  the  body  itself  doth  become 
the  food  of  worms,  in  peace  and  quiet,  with 
how  much  quiet  and  peace  and  with  how 
great  reverence  and  devotion  ought  the  soul 
to  receive  the  food  that  is  God  Himself !  " 

XCV. — How  he  ever  loved  HEREIN     had    the 

in  himself  and  others  both  Blessed    Francis 

inward    and    outward  al        s    his     highest 

spiritual  cheerfulness.  ^  7chiefest   £udy^ 

that  apart  from  prayer  and  the  Divine  Office 
he  should  maintain  both  inwardly  and  out 
wardly  a  spiritual  cheerfulness.  And  this  in 
like  manner  did  he  specially  love  in  the 
brethren,  yea,  oftentimes  did  he  reprove  them 
for  their  mourn  fulness  and  melancholy. 

For  he  would  say  that  "  and  the  servant  of 
God  would  study  to  have  and  to  keep  both 
inwardly  and  outwardly  the  spiritual  cheerful 
ness  that  ariseth  out  of  cleanness  of  heart,  and 
is  obtained  by  devoutness  of  prayer,  the  devils 
have  no  power  to  do  him  a  hurt,  saying; 
c  For  that  the  servant  of  God  hath  cheerful- 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

ness  in  tribulation  and  in  prosperity,  we  can 
find  no  entrance  whereby  to  enter  into  him, 
nor  to  do  him  a  hurt.'  But  then  do  the  devils 
exult  when  they  are  able  to  quench  or  to 
hinder  by  any  means  soever  the  devoutness 
and  cheerfulness  that  do  arise  from  simple 
prayer  and  other  godly  works. 

"  For  if  that  the  Devil  may  have  aught  ot 
his  own  in  the  servant  of  God,  save  he  be 
wise  and  heedful  at  once  to  destroy  and  do 
away  therewith  by  virtue  of  holy  prayer,  con 
trition,  confession  and  satisfaction,  in  a  short 
time  out  of  a  single  hair  he  maketh  a  beam 
by  evermore  adding  thereunto.  Therefore, 
my  brethren,  for  that  this  spiritual  cheerful 
ness  doth  proceed  from  cleanness  of  heart  and 
the  purity  of  continual  prayer,  special  heed 
should  be  given  to  the  acquiring  and  pre 
serving  of  these  two  things,  that  ye  may  have 
both  inwardly  and  outwardly  the  cheerfulness 
which  with  exceeding  affection  I  do  desire 
to  see  and  to  feel  both  in  myself  and  in  you,  to 
the  edification  or  our  neighbour  and  to  the 
disgrace  of  our  enemy.  For  unto  the  enemy  and 
unto  his  limbs  doth  it  pertain  to  be  sorrowful, 
but  unto  us  always  to  rejoice  and  be  glad  in 
the  Lord." 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XCVL— How  he  did  THE  Blessed  Francis 
rebuke  a  companion  that  said  :  «  Seeing  that 
was  sad  in  the  face,  j  know  how  the 

devils  do  envy  me  by  reason  of  the  blessings 
that  the  Lord  hath  granted  unto  me,  I  do 
know  also  and  see  that  as  they  cannot  do  me 
a  hurt  through  mine  own  self,  they  do  lie  in 
wait  and  study  how  to  do  me  a  hurt  through 
my  companions.  But  if  it  be  that  they  can 
do  me  no  hurt,  neither  through  myself  nor 
my  companions,  they  do  flee  away  in  sore 
confusion.  Yea,  and  I  were  at  any  time 
tempted  or  melancholy,  when  I  do  perceive 
the  cheerfulness  of  my  companion,  then 
straightway  by  occasion  of  his  cheerfulness, 
am  I  turned  back  from  temptation  and 
melancholy  to  inward  and  outward  cheerful 

For  this  reason  did  the  father  himself  sorely 
rebuke  them  that  made  an  outward  show  of 
sadness.  For  on  a  certain  time  he  rebuked 
one  of  the  companions  that  did  appear  with  a 
sorrowful  countenance.  And  he  saith  unto 
him :  "  Why  showest  thou  outwardly  this 
dolour  and  sadness  on  account  of  thine  offences  ? 
Keep  this  sadness  to  thyself  and  God  only, 
and  pray  Him  of  His  mercy  that  He  forgive 
thee  and  restore  to  thy  soul  the  healthy  joy- 
ance  whereof  it  hath  been  deprived  as  a 
punishment  for  thy  sin.  But  before  me  and 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

others  be  heedful  ever  to  have  cheerfulness, 
for  it  becometh  not  a  servant  of  God  before 
his  brother  or  any  other  to  show  sadness  and 
a  troubled  countenance." 

Not  that  it  is  to  be  understood  or  believed 
that  our  father,  the  lover  of  all  gravity  and 
decency,  would  desire  this  cheerfulness  to  be 
shown  in  laughter  or  even  in  the  least  idle 
word,  forasmuch  as  hereby  it  is  not  spiritual 
cheerfulness  that  is  shown,  but  rather  vanity 
and  folly  ;  yea,  in  the  servant  of  God  he  did 
specially  abhor  laughter  and  idle  speech,  for 
he  would  that  the  servant  of  God  should  not 
only  not  lau^h  himself,  but  should  not  afford 
to  others  the  least  occasion  for  laughter. 
Whence  in  a  certain  admonition  he  did  more 
clearly  define  what  ought  to  be  the  cheerful 
ness  of  a  servant  of  God,  for  saith  he  : 
"  Blessed  is  the  Religious  that  hath  no  joyous- 
ness  nor  gladness  save  only  in  the  most  holy 
words  and  works  of  the  Lord  and  therewithal 
provoketh  men  into  the  love  of  God  in  joy 
and  gladness.  And  woe  unto  the  Religious 
that  doth  delight  in  vain  and  idle  words  and 
therewithal  provoketh  men  unto  laughter." 

By  cheerfulness  of  countenance,  therefore, 
he  did  understand  the  fervency  and  solicitude 
and  disposition  and  preparation  of  mind  and 
body  to  do  all  good  work  with  a  good  will, 
for  that  by  a  fervency  and  disposition  of  this 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

kind  others  are  at  times  more  readily  pro 
voked  to  do  the  like  than  by  the  good  deed 
itself.  Yea,  be  the  deed  never  so  good,  and 
it  seem  not  done  of  a  good  will  and  a  warm 
heart,  it  rather  begetteth  weariness  than  pro- 
voketh  unto  good. 

And  therefore  did  it  irk  him  to  see  sadness 
in  the  face,  that  doth  too  often  represent 
melancholy  and  indisposition  of  mind  and 
idleness  of  body  in  every  good  work.  But 
gravity  and  seriousness  in  countenance  and  in 
all  the  members  and  senses  of  the  body  he  did 
ever  specially  love  in  himself  and  others,  and 
unto  this  as  far  as  in  him  lay  did  he  incite 
others  both  by  word  and  example. 

For  he  knew  by  experience  that  gravity  and 
modesty  of  manner  of  this  kind  is  as  it  were 
a  wall  and  passing  strong  shield  against  the 
arrows  of  the  Devil,  and  that  the  soul  with 
out  the  protection  of  this  wall  and  shield  is  as 
a  soldier  naked  in  the  midst  of  enemies  exceed 
ing  strong  and  armed  unto  the  teeth,  con 
tinually  raging  and  bent  upon  his  death. 

XCVII.— How  he  taught  THE    most    holy 

the  brethren  to  satisfy  the  father,  perceiving 

necessities   of    the   body,  an(j      understanding 

lest  prayer  should  be  lost.  ^    the    body  was 

created  for  the  soul,  and  that  bodily  acts  ought  to 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

be  done  for  the  sake  of  spiritual  acts,  spake  thus: 
"  The  servant  of  God  in  eating  and  drinking 
and  sleeping  and  supplying  the  other  neces 
sities  of  the  body,  ought  to  satisfy  his  body 
with  discretion,  in  such  sort  as  that  Brother 
body  shall  have  no  right  to  murmur  saying  : 
c  I  cannot  stand  upright  and  attend  to  prayer, 
nor  be  cheerful  in  tribulations  of  the  mind, 
nor  work  other  good  works  for  that  thou 
dost  not  satisfy  my  needs.' 

"For  if  that  the  servant  of  God  were  to 
satisfy  his  body  with  discretion  and  in  a  manner 
enough  good  and  decent,  and  Brother  body 
were  to  be  negligent  and  sluggish  and  sleepy 
in  prayer,  in  vigils  and  in  good  works,  then 
ought  he  to  chastise  him  as  a  bad.  and  lazy 
mule,  for  that  he  is  willing  enough  to  eat,  but 
unwilling  to  be  of  any  profit  and  carry  his 
burden.  But  if  by  reason  of  want  and  poverty 
Brother  body  cannot  have  what  is  necessary 
unto  him  in  health  and  sickness,  when  he  hath 
asked  humbly  and  honestly  of  his  brother  or 
his  superior  for  the  love  of  God,  and  it  is  not 
given  unto  him,  let  him  endure  it  patiently  for 
the  love  of  God  that  did  Himself  endure  the 
same,  that  did  seek  one  to  comfort  Him  and 
found  him  not.  And  this  necessity  borne 
with  patience  shall  be  counted  unto  him  of 
the  Lord  for  martyrdom.  And,  for  that  he 
did  that  which  he  ought,  to  wit,  ask  humbly, 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

his  necessity  is  excused  of  the  Lord,  even 
though  the  body  be  full  sore  enfeebled  there- 


XCVIIL— And  first,  how  WHAT  time  the 
the  devil  did  ei-'cer  into  a  Blessed  Francis  in 
pillow  that  he  had  under  the  hermitage  at 
his  head,  Greccio  was  so 

journing  to  pray  in  the  last  cell  beyond  the 
greater  cell,  on  a  certain  night  in  the  first 
sleep,  he  called  his  companion  that  lay  nigh 
him,  and  the  companion  rising  up  went  to  the 
vestibule  of  the  cell  where  the  Blessed  Francis 
lay,  and  the  saint  said  unto  him  :  "  Brother,  I 
have  not  been  able  to  sleep  to-night,  nor  to 
stand  upright  to  pray,  for  my  head  and  my 
legs  do  tremble  sore  and  meseemeth  I  have 
eaten  bread  kneaded  of  tares." 

And  when  the  companion  spake  unto  him 
words  of  compassion,  the  Blessed  Francis  said : 
"  I  do  verily  believe  that  the  devil  is  in  this 
pillow  that  I  have  at  mine  head."  For  albeit 
that  he  would  never  lie  on  feathers  nor  have  a 
feather  pillow  from  the  time  that  he  had  left 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  world,  yet  the  brethren  had  at  that  time 
compelled  him  against  his  will  to  have  that 
pillow  by  reason  of  the  infirmity  in  his  eyes. 

He  flung  it  therefore  at  his  companion,  but 
the  companion  catching  it  with  his  right 
hand  did  set  it  upon  his  left  shoulder,  and 
when  he  had  gone  out  of  the  vestibule  of  the 
cell,  straightway  he  lost  his  speech,  and  was 
not  able  to  loose  the  pillow  nor  to  move  his 
limbs,  but  stood  there  upright,  unable  to 
move  from  the  place,  and  without  any  feeling 
in  him.  But  when  he  had  thus  stood  for  some 
space,  by  God's  grace  the  Blessed  Francis 
called  him  and  straightway  he  returned  unto 
him,  letting  fall  the  pillow  behind  his  back. 

And  when  he  had  come  back  to  the  Blessed 
Francis  he  notified  unto  him  all  that  had 
befallen  him,  and,  saith  the  Blessed  Francis  : 
"  Last  evening  when  I  was  saying  Complines 
I  felt  the  devil  come  into  the  cell.  Whereby 
I  do  perceive  that  this  devil  is  passing  crafty, 
forasmuch  as  that  not  being  able  to  do  a  hurt 
unto  my  soul,  he  is  fain  to  hinder  a  necessity 
of  my  body  in  such  sort  as  that  I  cannot  sleep 
nor  stand  upright  at  prayer,  and  by  this  means 
to  hinder  the  devoutness  and  cheerfulness  of 
my  heart  so  as  that  thereby  I  should  murmur 
as  concerning  mine  infirmity." 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

XCIX.— Of  an  exceeding      WHILST    he    was 

sore  temptation  that  he  had  abiding  in  the  place 
for  more  than  two  years.  of  S>  Mary  an  ex_ 

ceeding  strong  temptation  was  sent  upon  him 
for  the  profit  of  his  soul.  Thereby  was  he  so 
sore  afflicted  in  mind  and  body  that  many  a 
time  would  he  withdraw  him  from  the  com 
pany  of  the  brethren  for  that  he  could  not 
show  himself  unto  them  as  cheerful  as  was  his 
wont.  Natheless  he  did  afflict  himself  by 
abstinence  from  meat  and  drink  and  words, 
did  pray  instantly  and  shed  abundant  tears  that 
the  Lord  would  deign  to  send  him  a  sufficient 
remedy  in  tribulation  so  sore. 

When  he  had  been  thus  afflicted  more  than 
two  years,  it  befell  that  on  a  certain  day 
whilst  that  he  was  praying  in  the  Church  of 
S.  Mary,  that  word  of  the  Gospel  was  spoken 
unto  him  in  spirit :  "  If  ye  have  faith  as  a 
grain  of  mustard-seed,  ye  shall  say  unto  this 
mountain,  Remove  hence  to  yonder  place, 
and  it  shall  remove." 

The  Blessed  Francis  made  answer  :  cc  Lord, 
what  is  this  mountain  ?  "  And  it  was  said 
unto  him  :  "  This  mountain  is  thy  tempta 
tion."  And  S.  Francis  said  :  "  Therefore,  O 
Lord,  be  it  unto  me  as  Thou  hast  spoken  !  " 

Straightway  he  was  set  free  so  perfectly 
as  that  it  seemed  him  he  had  never  had  any 
temptation  at  all.  In  like  manner  on  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

holy  mount  Alverna  whereon  he  did  receive 
the  stigmata  of  the  Lord  in  his  body,  he  did 
suffer  temptations  and  tribulations  of  the 
devils  so  that  he  could  not  show  him  cheerful 
as  was  his  wont.  For  he  said  unto  his  com 
panion  :  "  Did  the  brethren  only  know  how 
many  and  how  sore  be  the  tribulations  and 
afflictions  wherewith  the  devils  do  persecute 
me,  there  is  not  one  of  them  but  would  be 
moved  with  pity  and  compassion  toward 

C,  —  Of  the  temptation  that  Two    years     before 

he  had  through  mice,  his   death,  when  he 

whereof  the  Lord  did  com,  was  at  S>  Damian's 

fort  him  and  did  certify  {n     a    cemin 
him  of  His  kingdom. 

ties  and  was  exceeding  sore  afflicted  by  the 
infirmity  of  his  eyes,  so  as  that  by  the  space 
of  sixty  days  and  more  he  could  not  see  the 
light  of  day  nor  even  the  light  of  fire,  it  came 
to  pass  by  divine  permission  that  for  increase 
of  his  affliction  and  his  merit  so  many  mice 
did  come  into  the  cell  as  that  running  over 
him  and  about  him  by  night  and  day  they 
allowed  him  neither  to  pray  nor  to  rest.  Yea, 
when  he  did  eat,  they  came  upon  his  table 
and  did  infest  him  in  multitudes,  whereby 
both  he  and  his  companions  did  know  mani 
festly  that  it  was  a  temptation  of  the  devil. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

The  Blessed  Francis  seeing  himself  thus 
tormented  by  so  many  afflictions,  on  a  certain 
night,  moved  with  pity  of  his  own  case,  said 
within  himself:  "Lord,  look  upon  me  and 
succour  me  in  mine  infirmities  that  I  may 
endure  them  in  patience." 

And  straightway  it  was  said  unto  him  in 
spirit :  "  Tell  me,  brother,  if  a  certain  man  in 
return  for  these  thine  infirmities  and  tribula 
tions  would  give  thee  a  treasure  so  great  and 
precious  as  that  in  respect  of  that  mighty 
treasure  the  whole  earth  were  as  nought, 
wouldst  thou  not  greatly  rejoice  thereat  ? " 
And  the  Blessed  Francis  made  answer : 
"  Great,  verily,  O  Lord,  would  be  that  trea 
sure,  and  full  precious,  yea,  altogether  admir 
able  and  desirable." 

And  again  he  heard  One  saying  unto  him  : 
"Therefore,  brother,  be  glad  and  rejoice  in 
thine  infirmities  and  tribulations,  and  as  for 
the  rest,  take  thou  no  more  heed  than  if  thou 
hadst  already  entered  into  My  Kingdom  !  " 

And  rising  up  in  the  morning  he  said  unto 
his  companions  :  "  If  the  Emperor  should 
give  a  whole  realm  to  one  of  his  servants, 
would  not  that  servant  rejoice  greatly  ?  But 
and  if  he  should  give  him  his  whole  Empire, 
would  he  not  much  more  rejoice  ?  "  More 
over  he  said  unto  them  :  "  Therefore  meet 
is  it  that  I  rejoice  greatly  in  mine  infirmi- 
177  M 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

ties  and  tribulations,  and  take  comfort  in  the 
Lord,  giving  thanks  unto  God  the  Father  and 
His  only  Son  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  to 
the  Holy  Ghost  of  so  great  grace  as  the  Lord 
hath  done  me,  to  wit,  that  He  hath  con 
descended  unto  me  His  unworthy  servant 
still  living  in  the  flesh,  to  certify  me  as  con 
cerning  His  Kingdom.  Whence  am  I  fain 
unto  His  praise  and  our  consolation  and  the 
edification  of  our  neighbour,  to  make  a  new 
song  of  praise  as  concerning  those  creatures 
of  the  Lord  whereof  we  do  every  day  make 
use  and  without  whom  we  are  not  able  to 
live,  and  in  the  which  mankind  doth  sorely 
offend  his  Creator.  For  continually  do  we 
show  ourselves  ungrateful  for  so  great  grace 
and  so  many  blessings,  not  praising  the  Lord 
our  Creator  and  giver  of  all  good  things  as 
we  ought." 

And  sitting  down  he  began  to  meditate 
awhile  and  afterward  he  said  :  "  Most  higb^ 
almighty  and  most  gracious  Lord"  and  the  rest, 
and  made  music  thereupon,  and  did  teach  his 
companions  how  they  should  say  and  sing  the 

For  his  spirit  as  at  that  time  was  in  so  great 
comfort  and  sweetness  that  he  was  fain  to  send 
for  brother  Pacifico  that  in  the  world  was 
called  the  King  of  Verse  and  the  right  cour 
teous  Doctor  of  Singers,  and  he  was  fain  to 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

give  him  sundry  of  the  brethren  to  go  with 
him  throughout  the  world  preaching  and  sing 
ing  the  praises  of  the  Lord.  For  he  said  he 
would  that  he  among  them  which  did  know 
best  how  to  preach  should  first  preach  unto 
the  people,  and  that  after  the  preaching  all 
should  sing  together  the  praises  of  the  Lord 
as  it  were  minstrels  of  the  Lord. 

And  when  the  Lauds  were  ended,  he  would 
that  the  preacher  should  say  unto  the  people  : 
"  We  be  the  minstrels  of  the  Lord,  and  this 
largesse  do  we  crave  of  you,  to  wit,  that  ye 
shall  be  in  the  state  of  true  repentance." 
And  saith  he  :  "  For  what  be  the  servants  of 
God  but  certain  minstrels  of  His  that  so  lift 
up  the  hearts  of  men  and  move  them  to 
spiritual  gladness  ? " 

And  specially  did  he  say  this  of  the  brethren 
Minor,  that  are  given  unto  the  people  of  God 
for  the  salvation  thereof. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 


CL— And  first,  how  he  did  AFTER  that  the 
foretell  that  peace  would  Blessed  Francis  had 
be  made  between  the  composed  the  said 
Bishop  and  the  High  Lauds  of  thfi  cr£a_ 
Bailiff  of  Assisi  in  virtue  ,  ,., 

of  the  Lauds  that  he  had  <«"***  Qhe  Mf 
made  as  concerning  the  cal1  The  Song  of 
creatures,  the  which  he  the  Sun,  it  came 
did  make  be  sung  by  his  to  pass  that  a  great 
companions  before  them.  dissension  arose  be 
twixt  the  Bishop 

and  the  High  Bailiff  of  the  city  of  Assisi,  in 
such  sort  that  the  Bishop  did  excommunicate 
the  High  Bailiff,  and  the  High  Bailiff  made 
be  proclaimed  that  none  should  sell  aught  to 
the  Bishop  nor  buy  anything  of  him  nor 
enter  into  any  contract  whatsoever  with  him. 
The  Blessed  Francis  what  time  he  was 
thus  sick  and  had  heard  this,  was  moved  to  pity 
upon  them,  and  most  of  all  for  that  none  did 
interpose  betwixt  them  to  make  peace.  And 
he  saith  unto  his  companions  :  "  Great  shame 
is  it  unto  us  servants  of  God  that  the  Bishop 
and  the  High  Bailiff  do  thus  hate  one  another, 
and  that  none  doth  interpose  to  make  them  at 
peace."  And  straightway  he  did  make  a  verse 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

in  the  said  Lauds   upon  that  occasion,  saying 
thus : 

"  Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  them  that 

do  show  forgiveness  for  love  of  Thee, 
And  do  endure  sickness  and  tribulation. 
Yea,  blessed  be  they  that  shall  endure  in  peace 
For  of  Thee,  O  Thou  most  highest,  shall  they 
be  crowned" 

Afterward,  he  called  one  of  his  companions 
and  saith  unto  him :  "  Go  to  the  High 
Bailiff,  and  tell  him  on  my  behalf  to  come 
unto  the  Bishop's  house,  himself  with  the 
magnates  of  the  City  and  as  many  more  as  he 
can  bring  with  him." 

And  when  the  brother  was  gone,  he  said 
unto  other  twain  of  his  companions  :  "  Go  ye 
unto  the  presence  of  the  Bishop  and  the  High 
Bailiff  and  the  others  that  are  with  them,  and 
chant  ye  the  Song  of  Brother  Sun,  and  I  have 
trust  in  the  Lord  that  He  will  forthwith 
humble  their  hearts  and  that  they  shall 
thereby  be  brought  back  to  their  former  love 
and  friendship." 

And  when  all  were  assembled  together  in 
the  Piazza  of  the  cloister  of  the  episcopate, 
those  two  brethren  rose  up  and  one  of  them 
said  :  "  The  Blessed  Francis  in  his  sickness  hath 
made  a  Lauds  of  the  Lord  as  concerning  His 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

creatures  to  the  praise  of  the  Lord  Himselt 
and  to  the  edification  of  our  neighbour. 
Whence  he  doth  beseech  you  that  ye  will 
hearken  thereunto  with  great  devoutness." 
And  therewithal  they  did  begin  to  say  and 
sing  the  same. 

But  the  High  Bailiff  straightway  rose  up 
with  hands  and  arms  joined  together  and  did 
hearken  intently  thereunto  as  unto  the  Gospel 
of  the  Lord  with  exceeding  great  devotion 
and  with  many  tears,  for  great  faith  had  he 
and  devotion  toward  the  Blessed  Francis. 

And  when  the  Lauds  of  the  Lord  were 
ended,  the  High  Bailiff  said  before  them  all  : 
"  In  truth  I  say  unto  you  that  not  only  my 
Lord  Bishop  whom  I  do  desire  and  ought  to 
have  for  my  Lord,  but  were  it  one  that  had 
slain  mine  own  brother  or  my  son,  him  would 
I  forgive  !  "  And  so  saying,  he  did  fling  him 
down  at  the  Bishop's  feet  and  said  unto  him  : 
"Behold,  I  am  ready  in  all  things  to  make 
satisfaction  unto  thee  as  thou  shalt  please,  for 
the  love  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  and  of  His 
servant,  the  Blessed  Francis  ! " 

But  the  Bishop  accepting  him,  did  lift  him 
up  with  his  hands  and  said  unto  him : 
"  According  unto  mine  office  meet  is  it  that 
I  be  humble,  and 'for  that  by  nature  I  be 
swift  to  wrath  meet  is  it  also  that  thou  shouldst 
pardon  me."  And  on  this  wise  with  great 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

kindness  and  love  did  they  embrace  and 
kiss  the  one  the  other. 

But  the  brethren  were  amazed  and  rejoiced 
beholding  that  which  the  Blessed  Francis  had 
foretold  as  to  their  concord  thus  fulfilled  to 
the  letter.  And  all  they  that  were  present, 
did  ascribe  all  this  as  a  miracle  exceeding 
great  unto  the  merits  of  the  Blessed  Francis, 
that  the  Lord  had  so  suddenly  visited  them 
and  that  from  so  great  discord  and  scandal 
they  had  returned  to  so  great  concordance 
without  recalling  a  single  word  that  had  been 

But  we  that  were  with  the  Blessed  Francis 
do  bear  witness  that  when  he  did  say  of  aught 
"Thus  and  thus  will  it  be,"  the  same  did 
always  come  to  pass  to  the  letter,  and  so 
many  and  so  great  things  of  this  kind  have  we 
seen  that  it  would  be  long  to  write  them  or  to 

CII.— How  he  foresaw  the  THERE   was  a   cer- 

fall  of  a  brother  that  would  tajn     brother,     out- 

not  confess  under  the  pre-  wardly  of  honest  and 

tence  of  silence.  h  Q  j  y     conversatiori) 

that  day  and  night  did  seem  to  be  intent  upon 
prayer,  and  did  so  straitly  observe  continual 
silence  as  that  sometimes  when  he  did  confess 
him  to  the  priest,  he  made  his  confession  by 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

certain  signs  and  not  by  words.  For  so 
devout  and  fervent  in  the  love  of  God  did  he 
seem  to  be,  that  when  he  was  sitting  at  times 
with  the  brethren  albeit  he  spake  not,  he 
would  natheless  rejoice  greatly  both  inwardly 
and  outwardly  in  the  hearing  of  good  words, 
whereby  he  did  often  draw  other  brethren  to 

But  when  he  had  persisted  for  many  years 
in  conversation  of  this  kind,  it  came  to  pass 
that  the  Blessed  Francis  came  to  the  place 
wherein  he  abode.  Who,  when  he  heard 
of  his  conversation  from  the  brethren,  said 
unto  them  :  "  Know  ye  of  a  truth  that  this  is 
a  temptation  of  the  devil,  forasmuch  as  he  is 
not  minded  to  confess."  In  the  meantime 
the  Minister  General  came  thither  to  visit  the 
Blessed  Francis,  and  did  begin  to  commend 
him  before  the  Blessed  Francis,  and  the 
Blessed  Francis  saith  unto  him  :  "  Believe  me, 
brother,  forasmuch  as  that  brother  is  led  and 
deceived  of  an  evil  spirit." 

Said  the  Minister  General :  "  Marvellous 
seemeth  it  unto  me  and  as  it  were  incredible, 
how  this  may  be  in  a  man  that  hath  so  many 
signs  and  works  of  holiness."  And  the 
Blessed  Francis  said  unto  him,  "  Prove  him, 
saying  unto  the  brother,  c  Brother,  it  is  wholly 
my  will  that  thou  confess  twice  or  at  least  once 
in  a  week.' " 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

But  he  set  his  finger  on  his  mouth,  shaking 
his  head,  and  showing  by  signs  that  he  would 
in  no  wise  do  this  by  reason  of  his  love  of 
silence.  But  the  minister  fearing  to  scanda 
lise  him,  let  him  go.  And  not  many  days 
after,  that  brother  did  of  his  own  will  with 
draw  from  the  Order  and  return  unto  the 
world  wearing  the  habit  of  a  layman. 

But  it  came  to  pass  one  day,  when  twain  of 
the  companions  of  the  Blessed  Francis  were 
walking  by  a  certain  way,  they  came  over 
against  him  where  he  was  walking  alone  as  a 
pilgrim  exceeding  poor.  And  having  com 
passion  upon  him  they  said :  "  O  unhappy 
one,  where  is  thine  honest  and  holy  conversa 
tion  ?  For  thou  wouldst  not  speak  and  show 
thyself  unto  the  brethren,  and  now  thou  goest 
roaming  up  and  down  the  world  as  a  man  that 
knoweth  not  God." 

But  he  did  begin  to  speak  unto  them, 
swearing  many  times  "  By  my  faith  "  like  as 
do  men  of  this  world,  and  they  said  unto  him: 
"  Unhappy  man,  wherefore  swearest  thou 
c  By  thy  faith  '  like  unto  laymen,  seeing  that 
thou  didst  keep  silence  not  only  from  idle 
words,  but  from  all  ?  " 

And  so  they  let  him  go,  and  a  little  there 
after  he  died,  and  greatly  did  we  marvel  when 
we  saw  how  that  was  true  to  the  letter  which 
the  Blessed  Francis  had  foretold  concerning 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

him  at  the  time  when  that  unhappy  one  was 
held  by  the  brethren  to  be  a  saint. 

GUI. -Of    him   that   did  AT  the  time  when 

weep  before  the   Blessed  nOne    was     received 

Francis  that  he  might  be  into  the  Order  with- 

received  into  the  Order,  Qut  the  leaye  of  the 

Blessed  Francis,  a  certain  son  of  a  nobleman 
of  Lucca  came  with  many  others  wishing 
to  enter  the  Order,  to  the  Blessed  Francis 
that  was  then  sick  in  the  palace  of  the  Bishop 
of  Assisi. 

And  when  all  they  were  presented  unto  the 
Blessed  Francis,  this  one  bowed  him  before 
him  and  began  to  weep  sore,  beseeching  him 
that  he  might  be  received.  The  Blessed 
Francis  looking  straitly  upon  him,  said  :  "  O 
wretched  and  carnal  man,  wherefore  dost  thou 
lie  unto  the  Holy  Ghost  and  unto  me  ? 
Thou  dost  weep  carnally,  not  spiritually  !  " 
And  when  he  had  said  this,  forthwith  came 
his  kinsmen  on  horses  without  the  palace  wish 
ing  to  take  and  carry  him  back.  But  he, 
when  he  heard  the  clattering  of  horses  did 
look  forth  through  a  certain  window  and  saw 
his  kinsmen  and  did  forthwith  go  down  unto 
them  and  as  the  Blessed  Francis  had  foreseen, 
did  return  into  the  world  with  them. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

CIV.— Of  a  Priest's  vine'  AT  the  church  of 
yard  that  was  despoiled  of  g.  Fabian  that  is 
his  grapes  by  occasion  o?  njgh  Rieti,  the 
the  Blessed  Francis.  Blessed  Francis 

made  abode  with  a  poor  priest  by  reason  of 
the  infirmity  of  his  eyes.  At  that  time  also 
was  Pope  Honorius  at  that  city  with  all  his 
court.  Whence  it  came  to  pass  that  many 
Cardinals  and  other  great  clerks  visited  the 
Blessed  Francis  as  it  were  daily  by  reason 
of  the  devotion  that  they  had  unto  him. 

Now  this  church  had  a  little  vineyard  nigh 
the  house  wherein  the  Blessed  Francis  abode, 
and  in  the  house  was  a  door  whereby  well- 
nigh  all  they  that  visited  him  did  enter  into 
the  vineyard,  and  the  more  for  that  the  grapes 
were  then  ripe  and  the  place  was  right 
passing  pleasant;  so  that  by  this  occasion 
the  vineyard  was  demolished  as  it  were  and 
despoiled  of  the  grapes. 

Wherefore  the  priest  began  to  be  scandalised 
thereat,  saying:  "Albeit  the  vineyard  be 
little,  yet  did  I  gather  therein  enough  for  my 
necessity,  and  behold,  this  year  have  I  lost 


Hearing  the  which,  the  Blessed  Francis 
made  him  be  called  and  said  unto  him  :  "  Sir, 
be  not  further  troubled,  forasmuch  as  we  can 
not  now  do  other,  but  trust  in  the  Lord, 
seeing  that  for  me  His  little  servant,  He  is 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

able  wholly  to  restore  unto  thee  thy  loss.  Tell 
me,  how  many  salme  of  wine  hadst  thou  what 
time  thou  hadst  most  out  of  thy  vineyard  ? " 
The  priest  made  answer,  "Father,  thirteen 
salme."  Said  the  Blessed  Francis  unto  him, 
"  Henceforth  be  not  aggrieved,  nor  by  reason 
hereof  speak  a  reproachful  word  unto  any,  but 
have  faith  in  the  Lord  and  in  my  words,  and 
if  so  be  that  thou  hast  less  than  a  score  salme, 
I  will  have  it  made  good  unto  thee."  And 
thenceforth  the  priest  held  his  peace  and  was 
quiet,  and  in  the  time  of  vintage  by  divine 
dispensation  he  had  twenty  salme  of  wine  out 
of  that  vineyard,  and  no  less.  And  the  priest 
marvelled  greatly  and  all  they  that  heard 
hereof,  saying  that  had  the  vineyard  been  full 
of  grapes,  it  was  impossible  that  there  should 
be  twenty  salme  of  wine  therein. 

But  we  that  were  with  him  do  bear  witness 
that  in  this  as  in  all  else  that  he  spake,  his 
word  was  always  fulfilled  unto  the  letter. 

CV«— Of   the   soldiers  of      WHEN    the  Blessed 
Perugia  that  did  hinder  his      Francis  was  preach 
ing  in  the  place  at 

Perugia,  and  much  people  was  assembled 
therein,  behold  the  soldiers  of  Perugia  did 
begin  to  career  through  the  Piazza  upon  their 
horses  and  did  play  with  their  arms  and  hinder 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

his  preaching,  and  albeit  some  of  them  that 
were  present  did  rebuke  them,  yet  not  for  this 
would  they  leave  of  their  sport. 

Wherefore  turning  toward  them  the  Blessed 
Francis  with  much  fervency  of  spirit  said  unto 
them  :  "  Hear  ye  and  understand  the  things 
that  through  me  His  little  servant,  the  Lord 
doth  announce  unto  you,  and  say  not,  c  We 
will  hearken  not  unto  him  for  that  he  is  of 
Assisi.'"  But  this  he  said  for  that  there  is  an 
ancient  hatred  betwixt  them  of  Perugia  and 
them  of  Assisi. 

And  he  saith  unto  them  :  "  The  Lord  hath 
exalted  ye  above  all  your  neighbours,  and 
therefore  ought  ye  the  more  willingly  to 
acknowledge  your  Creator  by  humbling  you 
not  unto  God  alone  but  likewise  unto  your 
neighbours.  But  your  heart  is  lifted  up  in 
pride,  and  ye  do  waste  your  neighbours  and 
slay  many  ;  wherefore  I  say  unto  you  that 
save  ye  be  quickly  converted  unto  God  and  do 
make  satisfaction  of  those  things  wherein  ye 
have  offended,  the  Lord  which  leaveth  nought 
unpunished,  to  sorer  vengeance  upon  ye  and 
to  your  punishment  and  to  your  shame  shall 
make  ye  rise  up  one  against  another,  and 
in  the  sedition  that  shall  be  raised  and  in  civil 
war  so  great  tribulation  shall  ye  suffer  as  never 
could  your  neighbours  wreak  upon  ye  ! " 

For  on  such  wise  did  the  Blessed  Francis 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

never  hold  his  peace  as  concerning  the  ill- 
doings  of  the  people  when  he  preached,  but 
did  rebuke  all,  publicly  and  manfully.  For 
the  Lord  had  given  unto  him  such  grace  that 
all  they  who  did  see  and  hear  him,  of  whatso 
ever  estate  or  condition  they  might  be,  did  so 
greatly  fear  and  reverence  him  by  reason  of 
the  abundant  grace  that  he  had  of  God,  that 
howsoever  sore  they  might  be  rebuked  of  him, 
yet  were  they  always  edified  by  his  words  and 
were  either  converted  unto  the  Lord  or  were 
inwardly  pricked  of  their  conscience. 

And  it  came  to  pass  by  divine  permission 
that  after  a  few  days  a  scandal  arose  betwixt 
the  soldiers  and  the  people,  such  as  that 
the  people  did  thrust  out  the  soldiers  beyond 
their  city.  And  the  soldiers  together  with  the 
Church  that  did  help  them  did  lay  waste  their 
fields  and  vineyards  and  trees,  and  all  the  hurt 
that  they  could  do  unto  the  people  they  did. 
And  in  like  manner,  the  people  did  waste 
all  the  goods  of  the  soldiers,  and  thus  were 
both  people  and  soldiers  punished  according  to 
the  word  of  S.  Francis. 

CVL— How  he  did  fore-  A  CERTAIN  brother, 
see  the  hidden  temptation  passing  spiritual  and 
of  a  certain  brother.  f a m i  1  i a r  with  the 

Blessed  Francis,  for  many  days  had  suffered 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  most  grievous  suggestions  of  the  devil,  in 
such  sort  as  that  he  was  brought  as  it  were 
into  the  very  depth  of  despair.  And  every 
day  was  he  so  sore  stung  thereby  that  he  was 
shamed  so  often  to  confess  the  same,  and  for 
this  reason  did  he  afflict  himself  overmuch 
by  abstinence  and  vigils  and  tears  and  dis 

And  it  came  to  pass  by  divine  dispensation 
that  the  Blessed  Francis  did  go  unto  that 
place,  and  on  a  certain  day  when  that  brother 
was  walking  with  the  Blessed  Francis,  the 
Blessed  Francis  did  perceive  by  the  Holy 
Spirit  his  tribulation  and  temptation,  and 
withdrawing  him  a  little  from  the  brother 
that  did  also  go  with  them,  he  joined  himself 
unto  that  sore  troubled  one,  and  said  unto 
him  :  u  My  best-beloved  brother,  I  will  that 
henceforth  thou  be  not  bound  to  confess  these 
suggestions  of  the  devil,  and  fear  not,  for  that 
no  hurt  have  they  done  unto  thy  soul,  but  by 
my  leave  say  thou  seven  Pater  Nosters  so  often 
as  thou  shalt  be  in  tribulation." 

And  the  brother  did  rejoice  greatly  of  this 
word  that  he  spake,  to  wit,  that  he  should  not 
be  bound  to  confess  these  things,  for  that 
hereby  was  he  most  afflicted.  Natheless, 
however,  exceeding  greatly  was  he  amazed 
seeing  that  the  Blessed  Francis  had  thus  per 
ceived  that  which  was  known  only  unto  those 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

priests    unto    whom    he    had    confessed   the 

And  forthwith  was  he  delivered  from  that 
tribulation  in  such  sort  that  by  the  grace  of 
God  and  the  merits  of  S.  Francis,  he  did  abide 
thenceforth  in  the  greatest  peace  and  quiet, 
and  for  that  the  saint  had  hoped  it  would  so 
be,  had  he  without  peril  absolved  him  from 

CVIL— Of  these  things  WHEN  about  the 
that  he  foretold  as  con-  time  of  his  death  a 
cerning  brother  Bernard,  certajn  daint  dish 

fntfn°7alt!thT  '       had      been      made 

fulfilled  as  he  said.  ^    for     ^    he 

remembered  him  of  brother  Bernard  that  was 
the  first  brother  he  had,  and  saith  unto  his 
companions  :  "  This  dish  is  good  for  brother 
Bernard."  And  straightway  he  made  him  be 
called  unto  him.  Who,  when  he  came,  sate 
upon  the  bed  whereon  the  saint  was  lying. 
And  saith  brother  Bernard  :  "  Father,  I  do 
beseech  thee  that  thou  give  me  thy  bless 
ing,  and  show  love  for  me,  seeing  that  if  thou 
show  fatherly  affection  toward  me,  I  do  believe 
that  God  Himself  and  all  the  brethren  will 
love  me  the  better  therefor." 

The  Blessed  Francis  could  not  see  him,  for 
that  by  the  space  of  many  days  before  he  had 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

lost  the  sight  of  his  eyes,  but  stretching  forth 
his  right  hand,  he  set  it  upon  the  head  of 
brother  Egidio  that  was  third  brother,  believ 
ing  that  he  had  set  the  same  upon  the  head  of 
brother  Bernard  that  sate  next  him.  And 
straightway  perceiving  the  same  by  the 
Holy  Spirit  he  said  :  "  This  is  not  the  head 
of  my  brother  Bernard." 

Then  brother  Bernard  drew  him  nigher 
yet,  and  the  Blessed  Francis  setting  his  hand 
upon  his  head  gave  him  his  blessing,  saying 
unto  one  of  his  companions  :  "  Write  that 
which  I  shall  say  unto  thee.  The  first  brother 
that  the  Lord  did  give  unto  me  was  brother 
Bernard,  that  did  first  begin  and  did  most 
perfectly  fulfil  the  perfection  of  the  Holy 
Gospel  by  giving  all  his  goods  unto  the  poor, 
by  reason  whereof  and  by  reason  of  many 
other  prerogatives  I  am  bound  to  love  him 
better  than  any  brother  in  the  whole  Order. 
Whence  I  will  and  enjoin  so  far  as  I  am  able, 
that  whosoever  shall  be  Minister  General  shall 
love  and  honour  him  as  myself.  Let  the 
ministers,  moreover,  and  all  the  brethren  of 
the  whole  Religion  hold  him  in  my  stead." 

And  hereby  were  brother  Bernard  and  the 
other  brethren  much  comforted.  For  the 
blessed  Francis,  having  regard  unto  the  ex 
ceeding  great  perfection  of  this  same  brother 
Bernard,  aid  prophesy  concerning  him  in  the 
193  N 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

presence  of  sundry  brethren,  saying  :  "  I  say 
unto  you  that  unto  brother  Bernard  have  been 
given  certain  of  the  great  and  most  subtile 
devils  to  exercise  him,  the  which  do  send  upon 
him  manifold  tribulations  and  temptations. 
But  the  merciful  Lord  nigh  upon  his  end  will 
take  away  from  him  all  tribulation  and  temp 
tation,  and  will  set  his  spirit  and  his  body  in 
so  passing  peace  and  comfort  as  that  all  the 
brethren  who  shall  see  these  things,  shall  marvel 
greatly,  and  hold  it  for  a  great  miracle  ;  and 
in  this  quiet  and  with  the  consolation  of  every 
man  shall  he  pass  over  unto  the  Lord." 

But  all  these  things  not  without  passing 
wonderment  of  all  the  brethren  that  did  hear 
them  from  the  Blessed  Francis  were  thereafter 
fulfilled  to  the  letter  in  brother  Bernard  him 
self.  For  brother  Bernard  being  sick  unto 
death  was  in  so  great  peace  and  comfort  of 
spirit  that  he  was  fain  not  to  lie  down,  or  if 
he  lay,  he  lay  as  it  were  sitting,  and  not  the 
lightest  fume  arising  to  his  head  did  hinder  his 
meditation  on  God  by  sleep  or  by  reason  of 
any  illusion. 

And  if  at  any  time  this  did  befall  him, 
straightway  he  would  rise  up  and  smite  him 
self,  saying  :  "  What  was  it  ?  Wherefore  did 
I  think  thus  ?  "  Nought  would  he  take  by 
way  of  medicine,  but  would  say  unto  him  that 
offered  it :  "  Hinder  me  not  !  " 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

And  that  he  might  die  even  yet  more  freely 
and  peacefully  he  did  transfer  all  care  for  his 
body  from  himself  into  the  hands  of  a  certain 
brother  that  was  a  leech,  saying  :  "  I  am  fain 
to  have  no  care  of  eating  nor  of  drinking,  but 
I  commit  everything  unto  thee.  If  thou 
givest  it  unto  me  I  will  take  it,  if  not,  I  will 
not  ask  for  it." 

From  the  time  that  he  began  to  be  sick,  he 
wished  always  to  have  a  priest  anigh  him  until 
his  dying  hour,  and  whensoever  aught  did 
come  into  his  mind  that  was  a  burden  to  his 
conscience,  he  did  straightway  confess  him. 

But  after  his  death  he  did  become  white 
and  his  flesh  soft,  and  he  did  seem  as  though 
he  smiled.  Whence  comelier  was  he  dead 
than  alive,  and  more  delighted  were  all  to  look 
upon  him  dead  than  alive,  for  that  he  did  seem 
verily  a  saint  that  smiled. 

CVIII.-How,  nigh  his  IN  the  week  that 
death,  he  sent  word  unto  the  Blessed  Fnmds 
S  Clara  that  she  should  did  h 

see  him,  and  now  it  was       T    j     01  /    r 

fulfilled  after  his  death,  La?7  Clara>  the  first 

sapling  of  the  poor 

Sisters  of  S.  Damian  of  Assisi,  the  chiefest 
rival  of  the  Blessed  Francis  in  the  observance 
Of  Gospel  perfection,  fearing  lest  she  should 
die  before  him,  for  that  at  that  time  both  lay 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

grievously  sick,  wept  most  bitterly  and  would 
not  be  comforted,  for  that  she  thought  she 
should  not  see  before  her  departure  her  one 
father  after  God,  the  Blessed  Francis,  her 
comforter  and  master  and  her  first  founder  in 
the  grace  of  God. 

And  therefore  did  she  signify  this  unto  the 
Blessed  Francis  by  a  certain  brother,  which 
when  the  holy  man  did  hear,  forasmuch  as 
he  did  love  her  above  all  other  with  fatherly 
affection,  he  was  moved  with  pity  toward 
her.  But  considering  that  the  thing  she 
would,  to  wit,  to  see  him,  could  not  be 
brought  about,  for  her  consolation  and  that  of 
all  the  sisterhood  he  did  write  unto  her  his 
blessing  in  a  letter,  and  did  absolve  her  of  all 
defect  in  case  she  had  done  aught  against  his 
admonition  and  against  the  commandments 
and  counsels  of  the  Son  of  God.  And  so  that 
she  should  lay  aside  all  sadness  and  grief,  he 
said  unto  the  brother  whom  he  had  sent : 
"Go  and  tell  sister  Clara  to  lay  aside  all 
sorrow  and  sadness  for  that  she  cannot  see  me 
just  now,  forasmuch  as  in  truth  let  her  know 
before  her  departure  both  she  herself  and  my 
sisters  shall  see  me  and  shall  be  greatly  com 
forted  as  concerning  me." 

But  it  came  to  pass  when  a  little  afterward 

the  Blessed  Francis  had  passed  away  in  the 

night,  that  on  the  morrow  the  whole  people 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  clergy  of  Assisi  came  and  took  away  his 
holy  body  from  the  place  where  he  had  passed 
away  with  hymns  and  lauds,  each  one  bearing 
aloft  branches  of  trees,  and  thus  did  they  carry 
the  same  by  the  will  of  the  Lord  to  S.  Damian's, 
so  that  the  word  might  be  fulfilled  which  the 
Lord  had  spoken  by  the  Blessed  Francis  for 
the  comfort  of  His  daughters  and  His  hand 

^  And  removing  the  iron  lattice  whereby  the 
sisters  were  wont  to  communicate  and  to  hear 
the  word  of  God,  the  brethren  took  th?  holy 
body  from  the  bier  and  held  it  between  their 
arms  for  a  long  space  at  the  opening  until  that 
the  Lady  Clara  and  her  sisters  had  been  com 
forted  by  the  sight  thereof  albeit  they  were  over 
come  and  full  of  sorrow  and  many  tears  seeing 
themselves  made  orphans  of  the  consolations 
and  admonitions  of  so  dear  a  father. 

CIX,-How  he  did  fore-      ONE   day  when  he 
tell    that  his  body  would       was    j   j          sick     • 

death  the    Bish°P's    house 

at  Assisi,  a   certain 

spiritual  brother  said  unto  him  by  way  of  a 
jape  half  laughingly  :  "  For  how  much  wouldst 
thou  sell  all  thy  sack-cloths  unto  the  Lord  ? 
Many  baldachins  and  cloths  of  silk  shall  here 
after  be  set  upon  this  little  body  of  thine  !  " 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

for  at  that  time  he  had  his  cassock  covered 
with  sack-cloth  and  even  his  coverlid  was  also 
of  sack-cloth. 

And  the  Blessed  Francis  made  answer,  or 
rather,  not  he  but  the  Holy  Spirit  by  him,  and 
with  much  fervour  and  gladness  of  spirit  said : 
"  Thou  speakest  sooth,  seeing  that  so  will  it 
be  for  the  praise  of  my  God  and  by  His 
grace  !  " 


CX.— And  first,  how  the  WHILST  the  Blessed 
Lord  did  provide  for  the  Francis  was  at  the 
brethren  sitting  at  a  sorry  hermitage  of  Fonte 
table  with  a  leech.  palumbo  near  Rieti, 

the  eye-leech  one  day  did  visit  him  for  the 
infirmity  of  his  eyes.  And  when  he  had 
stayed  there  some  space  and  would  now  be 
gone,  the  Blessed  Francis  said  unto  one  of  his 
companions  :  "  Go  and  give  the  leech  to  eat 
of  the  best."  His  companion  made  answer 
unto  him  :  "  Father,  we  be  shamed  to  say 
that  we  be  so  poor  just  now  that  we  are 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

ashamed  to  invite  him  to  eat."  The  Blessed 
Francis  thereupon  said  unto  his  companions  : 
"  O  ye  of  little  faith,  let  me  not  have  to  speak 
twice  unto  you  !  "  And  the  leech  saith  unto 
the  Blessed  Francis  :  "  Brother,  for  that  the 
brethren  be  poor,  the  more  willing  am  I  to 
eat  with  them."  For  that  leech  was  exceed 
ing  rich,  and  albeit  the  Blessed  Francis  and 
the  companions  had  oftentimes  invited  him, 
yet  never  would  he  eat  with  them. 

The  brethren  therefore  went  and  made 
ready  the  table,  and  with  shame  did  set 
thereon  a  little  bread  and  wine  and  a  little 
dish  of  herbs  that  they  had  made  ready  for 
themselves.  And  whilst  they  were  sitting  at 
this  sorry  table,  so  soon  as  they  had  begun  to 
eat,  behold,  there  was  a  knocking  at  the  door 
of  the  place,  and  when  one  of  the  brethren 
went  and  opened  the  door,  behold,  there  stood 
a  woman  carrying  a  great  vessel  full  of  fair 
bread  and  fishes  and  pasties  of  crevisses,  and 
honey  and  grapes  that  had  been  sent  to 
the  Blessed  Francis  by  the  Lady  of  a  castle 
some  seven  miles  away  from  the  place. 

When  they  saw  this,  the  brethren  and  the 
leech  did  mightily  marvel  and  rejoice,  having 
regard  unto  the  holiness  of  S.  Francis  and 
ascribing  it  all  to  his  merits.  And  saith  the 
leech  unto  the  brethren  :  "  Neither  you  nor  I 
do  meetly  acknowledge  this  man's  holiness  ! " 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

CXI.— Of  the  fish  that  he  ANOTHER  time, 
did  fancy  in  his  sickness.  when  he  was  griev 
ous  sick  in  the  Bishop's  palace  of  Assisi,  the 
brethren  did  beseech  him  that  he  would  eat 
somewhat.  Who  made  answer  :  "  No  will 
have  I  to  eat,  but  and  if  I  could  have  a  bit  of 
chub,  haply  I  could  eat  a  little."  And  just  as  he 
spake,  behold,  a  certain  man  came  carrying  a 
tray  whereon  were  three  large  chub  fairly 
garnished  with  roundels  of  crevisses,  whereof 
the  holy  father  did  gladly  eat. 

And  this  did  brother  Gerard  that  was 
minister  at  Rieti  send  him.  And  the  brethren, 
marvelling  on  the  divine  Providence,  gave 
praises  unto  the  Lord  that  had  made  provision 
for  His  servant  in  these  meats  that  it  was  im 
possible  could  be  had  at  Assisi  at  that  time,  for 
that  it  was  winter. 

CXIL— Of  the  meats  and  WHILST  that  he  was 
cloth  that  he  did  fancy  jn  t  h  e  place  of 
about  the  time  of  his  S>  M  of  the 

Angels,  sick  of  the 

ailment  whereof  he  died,  he  one  day  called  his 
companions  saying  :  "  Ye  know  how  that  the 
Lady  Jacqueline  of  Settesoli  was  and  is  exceed 
ing  faithful  and  devoted  unto  me  and  unto  our 
Religion,  and  I  do  therefore  believe  that  she 
would  hold  it  as  a  great  grace  and  consolation 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

were  we  to  notify  her  of  mine  estate,  and 
specially  send  her  word  that  she  send  me  some 
religious  cloth  that  is  like  unto  ashes  in 
colour,  and  with  the  cloth  let  her  send  also  of 
the  marchpane  that  many  a  time  she  hath 
made  for  me  in  the  city."  That  confection 
the  Romans  do  call  mostacciuolo^  and  is  made 
of  almonds  and  sugar  and  other  things. 

For  that  lady  was  right  spiritual,  but  a 
widow  of  the  best  and  richest  in  all  Rome, 
that  by  the  merits  and  preaching  of  the 
Blessed  Francis  did  obtain  such  grace  of  the 
Lord  as  that  evermore  was  she  so  full  of  tears 
and  devotion  for  the  love  and  sweetness  of 
Christ  that  she  did  seem  as  it  were  a  second 

They  therefore  wrote  the  letter  as  the  holy 
man  had  said,  and  a  certain  brother  did  go 
seek  another  brother  to  carry  the  letter  to  the 
foresaid  Lady,  and  straightway  there  was  a 
knocking  at  the  door.  And  when  one  of  the 
brethren  had  opened  the  door,  behold,  there 
was  the  Lady  Jacqueline  that  had  come  in 
great  haste  to  visit  the  Blessed  Francis. 
Whom  when  one  of  the  brethren  did  recog 
nise,  he  went  in  haste  unto  the  Blessed  Francis, 
and  with  much  gladness  did  announce  unto 
him  how  the  Lady  Jacqueline  had  come  from 
Rome  with  her  son  and  many  others  to  visit 
him.  And  saith  he  :  "  What  shall  we  do, 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

father  ?     Shall    we    let    her  enter    and    come 
unto  thee  ?  " 

But  this  he  said  for  that  by  the  will  of 
S.  Francis  it  was  ordained  that  at  that  place, 
by  reason  of  the  great  seemliness  and  devotion 
thereof,  no  woman  was  allowed  to  enter  the 
cloister.  And  the  Blessed  Francis  said  :  "  This 
regulation  is  not  to  be  observed  in  respect  of 
that  Lady,  whom  so  great  faith  and  devotion 
hath  brought  hither  from  parts  so  far  away." 

The  Lady  therefore  did  come  in  unto  the 
Blessed  Francis  shedding  many  tears  in  his 
presence.  And,  a  right  marvellous  thing,  she 
did  bring  with  her  the  shroud-cloth,  to  wit, 
the  cloth  of  ashen-grey  colour  for  his  habit, 
and  all  the  things  that  were  contained  in  the 
letter  had  she  brought  with  her  as  though  she 
had  received  the  letter. 

And  saith  the  Lady  to  the  brethren  :  "  My 
brothers,  it  was  said  unto  me  in  spirit  whilst 
that  I  was  praying  :  c  Go  and  visit  thy  father 
the  Blessed  Francis,  and  haste  thee  and  tarrv 
not,  for  and  thou  tarriest  long  thou  wilt  not 
find  him  alive  :  and  carry  unto  him  such  a 
cloth  for  his  habit,  and  such  other  things  and 
confections,  and  likewise  take  with  thee  a 
great  quantity  of  wax  for  lights,  and  of  incense 
also."  For  all  these  things  save  the  incense 
were  contained  in  the  letter  that  should  have 
been  sent. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

And  thus  it  came  to  pass  that  He  which 
did  inspire  the  Kings  that  they  should  go 
with  their  gifts  to  honour  His  Son  on  the  day 
of  His  Nativity,  did  also  inspire  this  noble  and 
holy  Lady  that  she  should  go  with  her  gifts  to 
honour  His  best-beloved  servant  in  the  days  of 
his  death,  yea,  rather,  of  his  true  nativity. 

That  Lady,  therefore,  had  made  ready  the 
marchpane  whereof  the  holy  father  did  desire 
to  eat,  but  very  little  did  he  eat  thereof,  foras 
much  as  he  was  fast  failing  and  did  draw  nigh 
unto  death.  Howbeit  he  had  many  candles 
made  that  after  his  death  should  burn  before 
his  most  holy  body,  and  of  the  cloth  did  the 
brethren  make  for  him  the  habit  wherewith  he 
was  buried.  Moreover  he  bade  the  brethren 
sew  a  sack-cloth  thereupon  in  token  and 
in  ensample  of  humility  and  of  our  Lady 
Poverty,  and  in  that  week  wherein  the  Lady 
Jacqueline  did  come,  did  our  most  holy  father 
pass  away  unto  the  Lord. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 


CXIII— And  first,  of  the  WHOLLY  wrapped 
love  that  he  had  specially  up  jn  the  \Qve  of 
toward  the  birds  that  are  God  the  Blessed 
called  crested  larks,  for  T?  •  j-j  r  i 
that  in  them  was  the  Jnmcis  did  perfectly 
similitude  of  a  good  Discern  the  goodness 
Religious.  °*  (jr°d  not  Onl7  m 

his   own   soul   now 

adorned  with  every  perfection  of  godliness, 
but  also  in  every  creature  whatsoever,  by 
reason  whereof  he  was  affected  with  a  singular 
and  overflowing  love  toward  the  creatures, 
more  especially  those  wherein  seemed  him  to 
be  a  figure  of  aught  that  is  of  God  or  aught 
pertaining  unto  Religion.  Whence  above  all 
other  birds  did  he  love  the  crested  lark,  the 
little  bird  that  in  the  vulgar  tongue  is  called 
lodola  capellata^  and  he  would  say  of  her : 
"  Sister  lark  hath  a  hood  like  the  Religious, 
and  an  humble  bird  is  she  for  she  gladly  goeth 
by  the  way  to  find  her  a  few  grains  of  corn 
and  so  she  findeth  them  even  among  the 
dung,  she  taketh  them  therefrom  and  eateth 
them.  When  she  soareth  she  doth  praise  God 
right  sweetly,  even  as  the  good  Religious  that 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

doth  look  down  on  earthly  things,  whose  con 
versation  is  evermore  in  Heaven,  and  whose 
intent  is  always  toward  the  praise  of  God. 
Her  garments,  to  wit,  her  feathers,  are  like 
unto  the  earth  and  she  giveth  ensample  unto 
the  Religious  that  they  wear  not  delicate  and 
gaudy  garments  but  such  as  be  vile  in  price 
and  colour  even  as  the  earth  is  viler  than  the 
other  elements." 

And  for  that  he  did  perceive  these  simili 
tudes  in  them,  he  did  most  gladly  look  upon 
them.  Therefore  it  pleased  the  Lord  that 
these  most  holy  birdies  should  show  some 
token  of  the  love  they  bare  unto  him  in  the 
hour  of  his  death.  For  on  the  Saturday  even 
ing  after  vespers,  before  the  night  wherein  he 
passed  away  unto  the  Lord,  a  great  multitude 
of  birds  of  this  kind  that  are  called  larks  came 
above  the  roof  of  the  house  wherein  he  lay, 
and  flying  a  little  way  off  did  make  a  wheel 
after  the  manner  of  a  circle  round  the  roof, 
and  by  their  sweet  singing  did  seem  to  be 
praising  the  Lord  along  with  him. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

CXIV.— That  he  would  WE  that  were  with 
fain  have  persuaded  the  the  Blessed  Francis 
Emperorto  make  a  special  and  haye  wHtten 
law  that  in  the  Nativity  <i  .u  •  ,  , 
of  our  Lord  men  should  theSC  thlnSS  d°rbear 
make  good  provision  for  witness  that  often- 
the  birds,  for  the  ox  and  tlmes  have  we  heard 
the  ass  and  for  the  poor.  him  saying  :  "  And 

I  ever  have  speech 

with  the  Emperor,  I  will  entreat  him  and 
persuade  him  and  tell  him  that  for  the  love  of 
God  and  of  me  he  ought  to  make  a  special 
law  that  none  snare  nor  kill  our  Sisters  the 
larks  nor  do  any  evil  unto  them.  In  like 
manner,  that  all  the  Mayors  of  the  cities  and 
the  Lords  of  the  castles  and  towns  be  bound 
every  year  on  the  day  of  the  Nativity  of  our 
Lord,  to  compel  their  men  to  throw  wheat 
and  other  grain  along  the  roads  beyond  the 
cities  and  walled  towns,  so  as  that  our  Sisters 
the  larks  may  have  whereof  to  eat,  and  other 
birds  also  on  a  day  of  so  passing  solemnity, 
and  that  for  reverence  of  the  Son  of  God 
whom  on  such  a  night  the  most  Blessed 
Virgin  Mary  did  lay  down  in  the  stall  betwixt 
the  ox  and  the  ass,  whosoever  hath  an  ox  and 
an  ass  be  bound  on  that  night  to  provide  them 
provender  the  best  that  may  be,  and  in  like 
manner  also  that  on  such  a  day  all  poor  folk 
should  be  given  their  fill  of  good  victual  by 
the  rich." 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

For  the  Blessed  Francis  had  a  greater 
reverence  for  Christmas  than  for  other  fes 
tivals  of  our  Lord,  saying  :  "  After  that  the 
Lord  was  born  for  us,  it  did  become  a  matter 
of  necessity  that  we  should  be  saved."  Where 
fore  he  would  that  every  Christian  on  that 
day  should  exult  in  the  Lord,  and  that  for  the 
love  of  Him  which  did  give  Himself  unto  us, 
all  ought  not  only  to  make  abundant  largesse 
unto  the  poor,  but  likewise  also  unto  the 
beasts  and  birds. 

CXV.— Of  the  love  and  WHEN  he  had  come 

obedience  of  the  fire  unto  to  the  hermitage  of 

him  what  time  he  made  Fonte      Palumbo 

him  be  burnt  by  cautery.  nfgh    Ried    for   ^ 

cure  of  the  infirmity  of  his  eyes,  whereunto 
he  was  compelled  on  his  obedience  by  the 
Lord  Bishop  of  Ostia  and  by  brother  Elias  the 
Minister  General,  one  day  the  leech  came  unto 

Who,  after  examining  his  infirmity,  said 
unto  the  Blessed  Francis  that  he  wished  to 
make  a  cautery  over  the  cheek  as  far  as  the 
eyebrow  of  the  eye  that  was  worse  than  the 
other.  But  the  Blessed  Francis  would  not 
that  he  should  begin  the  operation  save 
brother  Elias  were  there,  for  that  he  had  said 
he  would  fain  be  present  when  the  leech 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

should  begin  that  operation,  for  ^he  Blessed 
Francis  was  afeard,  and  right  grievous  was  it 
unto  him  that  he  should  have  so  great 
solicitude  about  himself ;  wherefore  he  would 
that  the  Minister  General  should  be  the  one 
to  have  everything  done  as  concerning  him. 

When,  therefore,  he  had  waited  for  him, 
and  he  came  not  by  reason  of  the  many  hin 
drances  that  he  had,  the  Blessed  Francis  gave 
the  leech  leave  to  do  as  he  would.  And  when 
the  iron  was  set  in  the  fire  for  making  of  the 
cautery,  the  Blessed  Francis  being  fain  to 
comfort  his  spirit  lest  he  should  be  overmuch 
afeard,  spake  thus  unto  the  fire  :  "  Fire,  my 
brother,  noble  and  useful  amongst  other 
creatures,  be  thou  gracious  unto  me  in  this 
hour,  seeing  that  of  old  have  I  loved  thee  and 
yet  will  love  thee  for  the  love  of  Him  that  did 
create  thee.  Earnestly,  moreover,  do  I  pray 
the  Creator  that  did  create  both  thee  and  me, 
that  He  will  so  temper  thine  heat  as  that  I 
may  be  able  to  abide  it."  And  when  he  had 
ended  his  prayer  he  did  sign  the  fire  with  the 
sign  of  the  Cross. 

But  we  that  were  with  him  at  that  time 
did  all  flee  away  for  pity  and  compassion 
toward  him,  and  only  the  leech  did  remain 
with  him.  But  when  the  cautery  was  made 
we  returned  unto  him,  who  said  :  "O  feeble- 
hearted  and  of  little  faith,  wherefore  did  ye 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

flee  ?  In  truth  I  say  unto  you  that  I  felt 
neither  pain  nor  any  heat  of  the  fire.  Yea, 
and  it  be  not  now  well  seared,  let  him  again 
sear  it  better  !  " 

And  thereat  did  the  leech  marvel  greatly  ; 
saying :  "  My  brethren,  I  tell  you  that  I 
should  fear,  not  only  for  him  that  is  so  feeble 
and  ailing,  but  for  any  man,  even  were  he  the 
strongest,  lest  he  should  not  be  able  to  endure 
so  great  a  cautery  ;  yet  truly  did  this  man  never 
flinch  nor  show  any  the  least  sign  of  pain." 

For  it  was  necessary  that  all  the  veins  from 
the  ear  as  far  as  the  eyebrow  should  be  cut, 
yet,  nevertheless  was  he  thereby  nothing 
benefited.  In  like  manner  did  another  leech 
pierce  both  his  ears  with  a  hot  iron,  yet  naught 
did  he  profit  thereby. 

Nor  is  it  a  marvel  that  the  fire  and  other 
creatures  were  at  times  obedient  unto  him 
and  did  reverence  him,  for,  as  we  that  were 
with  him  have  full  ofttimes  seen,  he  had  so 
great  affection  toward  them  and  did  so  greatly 
delight  in  them,  and  his  spirit  was  moved  with 
so  great  pity  and  compassion  for  them,  that  he 
would  not  see  them  treated  unfairly,  and  he 
would  so  talk  with  them  with  gladness  both 
inward  and  outward,  as  if  they  had  reason, 
whence  by  occasion  thereof  was  he  oftentimes 
rapt  up  to  God. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

CXVL— That  he  would  AMONG  all  the   in- 

not  quench  nor  allow  to  ferior  and  insensible 

be  quenched  the  fire  that  creatureSi  he   had  a 

did  burn  his  hosen.  spedal  affection  to_ 

ward  fire,  by  reason  of  the  beauty  and  useful 
ness  thereof ;  wherefore  he  would  never  hinder 
it  in  doing  the  office  thereof.  For  once  on  a 
time,  when  he  was  sitting  nigh  the  fire,  with 
out  his  knowledge  the  fire  did  catch  upon  his 
linen  cloths  or  hosen  nigh  the  knee,  and  when 
he  felt  the  heat  thereof,  he  would  not  put  it 
out.  But  his  companion  that  did  see  his  hosen 
afire  ran  unto  him  intending  to  quench  the 
fire,  but  he  forbade  him,  saying :  "  Nay, 
dearest  brother,  harm  not  the  fire  !  And 
thus  would  he  not  by  no  means  that  he  should 
quench  it. 

Howbeit,  he  went  hastily  to  the  brother 
that  was  his  warden  and  fetched  him  to  the 
Blessed  Francis  and  he  did  forthwith  against 
the  will  of  the  Blessed  Francis  put  out  the 
fire.  Whence,  however  urgent  were  the 
necessity,  he  would  never  put  out  a  fire  nor 
a  lamp  nor  a  candle,  with  so  great  pity  was 
he  moved  toward  them. 

Moreover  he  would  not  that  a  brother 
should  fling  away  a  fire  nor  move  a  smoking 
log  from  place  to  place  as  is  wont,  but  should 
simply  set  the  same  on  the  ground  out  of 
reverence  to  Him  whose  creature  it  is. 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

CXVIL— How  he  would  WHILST  that  he 
never  wear  a  pelt  for  that  was  keeping  Lent  at 
he  had  not  allowed  it  to  Monte  Alverna,one 

day  his  companion, 

at  the  hour  of  eating  together,  did  make  ready 
a  fire  in  the  cell  wherein  he  ate,  and  when  he 
had  kindled  the  fire  went  for  the  Holy  Francis 
unto  another  cell  wherein  he  was  praying, 
carrying  with  him  the  Missal,  so  as  that  he 
might  read  to  him  the  Gospel  for  the  day,  for 
he  would  always  hear  the  Gospel  that  was 
read  in  the  Missal  for  the  day  or  ever  he  would 
eat  when  he  could  not  hear  Mass. 

And  when  he  came  to  the  cell  wherein  the 
fire  had  been  kindled  to  eat,  behold,  the  flame 
of  the  fire  had  already  climbed  up  unto  the  roof 
of  the  cell  and  was  burning  it ;  whereupon 
the  companion  began  to  put  out  the  fire  the 
best  he  might,  but  he  could  not  do  so  single- 
handed.  Howbeit  the  Blessed  Francis  would 
not  help  him,  but  took  a  certain  pelt  that  he 
did  wear  over  him  of  a  night  and  went  there 
with  into  the  wood. 

Howbeit  the  brethren  of  the  place  that 
dwelt  at  a  distance  from  the  cell,  so  soon 
as  they  perceived  that  the  cell  was  being  burnt, 
came  straightway  and  did  quench  the  fire. 
The  Blessed  Francis  did  afterward  return  to 
eat,  and  when  he  had  eaten,  he  said  unto  his 
companion  :  "  Never  more  will  I  have  that 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

pelt  upon  me,  forasmuch  as  by  reason  of  my 
covetousness  I  would  not  that  brother  fire 
should  eat  it." 

CXVIII.— Ol  the  special  NEXT  to  fire,  he 
love  that  he  had  toward  did  specially  love 
water  and  stones  and  wood  water,  wherein  is 
and  flowers.  figured  holy  peni 

tence  and  tribulation  whereby  the  uncleannesses 
of  the  soul  are  washed  away,  and  also  the  first 
ablution  of  the>  soul  that  doth  take  place  in 
the  water  of  baptism.  Whence  whensoever 
he  did  wash  his  hands  he  would  make  choice 
of  such  a  place  as  that  the  water  which  fell 
should  not  be  trodden  by  his  feet.  Moreover 
when  he  did  walk  over  stones,  he  would  walk 
with  great  trembling  and  reverence  for  the 
love  of  him  that  is  called  "  the  Rock,"  whence, 
whensover  he  did  repeat  that  word  of  the 
psalm  :  "  Thou  didst  exalt  me  upon  a  rock," 
he  would  say  out  of  his  great  reverence  and 
devotion  :  "  Under  the  foot  of  the  rock  hast 
Thou  exalted  me." 

The  brother  moreover,  that  did  cut  and 
make  ready  the  wood  for  the  fire,  he  bade 
that  he  should  never  cut  up  the  whole  of 
a  tree,  but  should  cut  it  in  such  sort  as  that  of 
such  a  tree  some  part  should  remain  whole  for 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

the  love  of  Him  that  did  work  out  our  salva 
tion  on  the  wood  of  the  Cross. 

In  like  manner  also  he  told  the  brother  that 
did  the  garden  not  to  dig  the  whole  of  the 
ground  for  eatable  herbs  only,  but  to  leave 
some  part  of  the  ground  for  growing  green 
herbs  that  in  their  due  times  produce  the 
Brothers  flowers  for  the  love  of  Him  that 
is  called  "  the  flower  of  the  field  "  and  "  the 
lily  of  the  valley." 

Yea,  he  said  that  brother  gardener  ought 
always  to  make  a  fair  little  garden  in  some 
part  of  the  garden  land,  setting  and  planting 
therein  of  all  sweet-smelling  herbs  and  of  all 
herbs  that  do  bring  forth  fair  flowers  so  as 
that  in  their  time  they  might  invite  them  that 
did  look  upon  the  herbs  and  flowers  to  praise 
the  Lord.  For  every  creature  doth  cry  out 
saying  :  "  God  hath  made  me  on  account  of 
thee,  O  man  !  " 

Whence  we  that  were  with  him  saw  that  he 
did  so  greatly  rejoice  both  inwardly  and  out 
wardly  as  it  were  in  all  things  created,  that  in 
touching  them  or  looking  thereon  his  spirit 
did  seem  to  be  not  upon  earth  but  in  Heaven. 
And  by  reason  of  the  many  consolations  that 
he  had  and  had  aforetime  had  in  the  creatures, 
a  little  before  his  departure  he  did  compose 
certain  Praises  of  the  Lord  as  concerning  His 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

creatures,  to  encourage  the  hearts  of  those  that 
should  hear  them  to  the  praise  of  God,  and  that 
the  Lord  might  be  praised  of  men  in  His 

CXI X.— How  he  com-  ABOVE  all  creatures 
mended  the  sun  and  the  lacking  reason,  he 
fire  above  other  creatures.  did  jove  the  sun  and 

fire  with  most  affection,  for  he  would  say : 
"  In  the  morning  when  the  sun  ariseth,  every 
man  ought  to  praise  God  that  did  create  him 
for  our  use,  for  that  by  him  are  our  eyes 
enlightened  by  day  ;  but  in  the  even  when  the 
night  cometh,  every  man  ought  to  praise  Him 
for  brother  fire,  for  that  by  him  are  our  eyes 
enlightened  by  night,  for  we  be  as  it  were  all 
blind  and  the  Lord  by  these  two  brethren  doth 
enlumine  our  eyes  ;  and  therefore  specially  for 
these  and  the  other  creatures  whereof  we  do 
daily  make  use,  ought  we  to  praise  the 
Creator."  The  which  himself  did  always 
unto  his  dying  day. 

Yea,  when  he  was  grieved  of  a  sore  infirmity 
he  did  begin  to  sing  the  Laudes  Domini  that 
he  had  made  as  concerning  the  creatures,  and 
afterward  did  make  his  companions  sing,  so  as 
that  in  meditating  on  the  praise  of  God,  he 
might  forget  his  pains  and  the  bitterness  of  his 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

And  for  that  he  did  deem  and  say  that  the 
sun  is  fairer  than  other  creatures  and  a  nigher 
similitude  of  our  Lord,  and  that  the  Lord 
Himself  is  called  in  Scripture  the  "Sun  of 
justice,"  when  he  would  give  a  title  to  the 
Lauds  that  he  made  of  the  creatures  of  the 
Lord,  to  wit,  what  time  the  Lord  did  certify 
him  of  His  Kingdom,  he  did  therefore  call 
them  "The  Song  of  Brother  Sun." 

CXX.— These  be  the  Most  high,  almighty 
Lauds  of  the  Creatures  and  most  gracious  Lord, 
that  he  made  what  time  Thine  be  the  praises 
the  Lord  did  certify  him  of  and  the  glory  an<l  the 
His  Kingdom.  honour  and  every  bless 

ing,  for  unto  Thee  alone,  O  most  highest,  do  they 
belong,  and  no  man  is  worthy  to  make  mention  of  Thy 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  Lord,  of  all  Thy  creatures 
and  above  all  of  Brother  Sun,  my  lord,  that  doth 
illumine  us  with  the  dawning  of  the  day. 

For  fair  is  he  and  bright,  and  the  brightness  of  his 
glory  doth  signify  Thee,  O  Thou  most  highest. 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  Sister  Moon  and 
the  stars  that  Thou  hast  shapen  in  the  heavens,  bright 
and  precious  and  comely. 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  Brother  Wind 
and  the  air,  and  of  the  clouds  and  the  clear,  and  of 
all  the  times  of  the  sky  whereby  Thou  dost  make  pro 
vision  for  Thy  creatures. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  Sister  Water, 
for  manifold  is  her  use,  and  humble  is  she  and  pre 
cious  and  chaste. 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  Brother  Fire,  by 
whom  Thou  dost  lighten  our  darkness,  and  comely  is 
he  and  joyful  and  masterful  and  strong. 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  Sister  Earth  our 
mother  that  doth  cherish  us  and  hath  us  in  keeping, 
and  doth  bring  forth  fruit  in  abundance  and  flowers  of 
many  colours  and  the  grass. 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  them  that  do 
show  forgiveness  unto  others  for  love  of  Thee,  and  do 
endure  sickness  and  tribulation.  Tea,  blessed  be  they 
that  do  endure  in  peace,  for  of  Thee,  O  Thou  most 
highest,  shall  they  be  crowned. 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord,  of  Sister  Death, 
the  death  of  the  body  from  whom  no  man  living  may 
escape,  but  woe  unto  them  that  shall  die  in  deadly  sin, 
and  blessed  be  they  that  shall  walk  according  unto 
Thy  most  holy  will,  for  unto  them  shall  the  second 
death  do  no  hurt. 

Praise  ye  and  bless  my  Lord  and  give  thanks  unto 
Him  and  serve  Him  in  all  humbleness. 


Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 


CXXI.—  And  first,  how  he  WHILST    he    was 

made   answer  to  brother  lying    sick     in     the 

Elias  that  did  rebuke  him  paiace  of  the  bishop- 
for  showing  so  much  toy. 

the  hand  of  the  Lord  did  seem  made  heavier 
than  of  wont  upon  him,  the  people  of  Assisi, 
fearing  in  case  he  should  die  in  the  night,  lest 
the  brethren  should  take  away  his  most  holy 
body  and  carry  it  away  unto  another  city, 
made  ordinance  that  every  night  diligent 
watch  should  be  kept  by  their  men  in  the 
circuit  without  the  palace-wall. 

But  the  most  holy  father,  that  he  might 
comfort  his  spirit  lest  he  should  at  any  time 
swoon  by  reason  of  the  violence  of  the  pain 
wherewith  he  was  continually  afflicted,  did 
oftentimes  in  the  day  make  the  Laudes  'Domini 
be  chanted  throughout  by  his  companions. 
The  same  also  did  he  by  night  for  the  edifica 
tion  and  comfort  of  the  lay-folk  that  were 
keeping  watch  without  the  palace  on  his 


Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

But  brother  Elias  perceiving  that  the 
Blessed  Francis  in  his  sore  sickness  did  thus 
comfort  him  and  rejoice  in  the  Lord,  said  unto 
him  :  "  Dearest  father,  of  all  the  cheerfulness 
thou  dost  manifest  in  this  sickness  on  behalf 
of  thyself  and  thy  companions  have  I  great 
comfort  and  edification,  but  albeit  that  the 
men  of  this  city  do  reverence  thee  as  a  holy 
man,  natheless,  for  that  they  do  firmly  believe 
thee  to  be  full  nigh  unto  thy  death  by  reason 
of  this  thine  incurable  malady,  when  they 
hear  Lauds  of  this  kind  chanted  by  day  and 
night,  they  may  haply  say  among  themselves : 
c  How  cometh  this  man  to  manifest  such 
cheerfulness  when  he  is  nigh  his  death  ?  He 
ought  rather  to  be  thinking  about  his  death.* " 

The  Blessed  Francis  said  unto  him  :  "  Re- 
memberest  thou,  when  thou  didst  see  the 
vision  at  Foligno,  how  thou  didst  say  unto 
me  that  a  certain  man  had  told  thee  that  I 
should  not  live  but  two  years  longer  ?  Before 
that  vision,  thou  sawest  how  by  the  grace  of 
God  that  doth  suggest  every  good  thing  unto 
the  heart  and  doth  set  the  same  in  the  mouth 
of  His  faithful,  I  did  oftentimes  by  day  and 
night  bethink  me  of  mine  end.  But  from  the 
hour  that  thou  didst  see  the  vision,  even  yet 
more  anxious  was  I  to  bethink  me  daily  of 
my  dying  day."  'And  straightway  with  great 
fervency  of  spirit  saith  he  :  "  Give  me  leave, 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

brother,  to  rejoice  in  the  Lord  and  in  His 
praises  and  in  mine  own  infirmities,  seeing 
that  by  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  I  am  so 
joined  and  made  one  with  my  Lord,  that  by 
His  mercy,  well  may  I  be  glad  in  Him,  Most 

CXXIL-  How  he  did  in*  IN  those  days,  in 
duce  the  leech  to  tell  him  the  same  palace,  did 
how  long  he  should  live,  a  certain  leech  of 
Arezzo  visit  him,  by  name  John  Good,  that 
was  exceeding  familiar  with  the  Blessed 
Francis  ;  and  the  Blessed  Francis  did  question 
him  saying :  "  How  seemeth  thee,  goodman 
leech,  of  this  mine  infirmity  of  hydropsy  ?  " 
For  he  would  not  call  him  by  his  right  name 
for  that  he  would  not  name  the  name  of  any 
that  was  called  "  good,"  out  of  reverence  to 
the  Lord  which  said  :  "  None  is  good  save 
God  only."  In  like  manner  he  would  not 
call  any  "  father  "  nor  "  master,"  nor  so  write 
in  his  letters,  out  of  reverence  to  the  Lord 
which  said  :  "  And  call  no  man  father  upon 
earth,  nor  be  ye  called  masters." 

And  the  leech  saith  unto  him  :  "  Brother, 
by  the  grace  of  God  it  shall  be  well  with 
thee."  Again  the  Blessed  Francis  said  unto 
him  :  "  Tell  me  the  truth.  How  seemeth  it 
unto  thee  ?  Fear  not  to  tell  me,  seeing  that 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

by  the  grace  of  God  no  craven  am  I  that  I 
should  fear  death,  for  by  the  grace  of  the 
Ploly  Ghost  that  worketh  with  me,  I  am  so 
made  one  with  my  Lord  that  to  live  or  die 
am  I  equally  content." 

The  leech  therefore  said  unto  him  :  "  Mani 
festly,  father,  by  all  rules  of  our  leech-craft 
thine  infirmity  is  incurable,  and  I  do  believe 
that  either  at  the  end  of  September  or  on  the 
fourth  of  the  Nones  of  October  thou  wilt 
die.  Then  the  Blessed  Francis  lying  back  in 
his  bed  with  great  devoutness  and  reverence 
spread  out  his  hands  toward  the  Lord,  and 
with  much  cheerfulness  of  mind  and  body 
said  :  "  Welcome,  my  Sister  Death  !  " 

CXXIIL— How,  when  he  AFTER  these  things, 
did  hear  that  he  should  die  a  certain  brother  said 
so  soon,  he  did  forthwith  unto  him  .  «  Father 
make  be  chanted  the  Lauds  thy  life  and  conyer. 
that  he  had  made.  sation  was  and  is  a 

light  and  a  mirror  not  only  unto  thy  brethren 
but  unto  the  whole  Church,  and  that  same 
thing  shall  thy  death  be  ;  and  albeit  unto  thy 
brethren  and  unto  many  others,  thy  death 
shall  be  a  matter  of  sadness  and  sorrow,  yet 
shall  comfort  be  thine  and  a  joy  that  is  in 
finite,  for  thou  shalt  pass  away  from  sore 
travail  unto  exceeding  rest,  away  from  these 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

many  pains  and  temptations  unto  everlasting 
peace,  away  from  this  temporal  poverty  that 
thou  hast  loved  and  perfectly  hast  observed 
unto  the  true  riches  without  end,  away  from 
this  temporal  death  unto  the  life  that  faileth 
not,  wherein  face  to  face  shalt  thou  behold  thy 
Lord  God  whom  in  this  world  thou  hast  loved 
with  so  great  fervency  of  love  and  desire  !  " 

And  when  he  had  spoken  thus,  he  said  unto 
him  plainly  :  "  Father,  know  this  of  a  truth, 
that  save  the  Lord  should  send  thee  healing 
from  heaven,  thine  infirmity  is  past  all  healing 
and  thou  hast  but  a  brief  space  to  live,  even  as 
the  leeches  have  said  but  just  now.  But  this 
have  I  said  unto  thee  for  the  comforting  of 
thy  spirit  that  thou  mayst  ever  both  inwardly 
and  outwardly  rejoice  in  the  Lord,  so  as  that 
thy  brethren  and  other  that  come  to  see  thee, 
may  find  thee  ever  rejoicing  in  the  Lord,  and 
that  unto  them  that  shall  see  it  and  unto  other 
that  shall  hear  thereof  after  thy  death,  thy 
death  may  be  a  memorial  for  ever  like  as  hath 
been  and  ever  shall  be  thy  life  and  conversa 

Then  the  Blessed  Francis,  albeit  that  he 
were  weighed  down  by  his  infirmities  beyond 
his  wont,  yet  did  seem  nevertheless  to  put  on 
new  gladness  of  mind,  hearing  that  Sister 
Death  was  so  close  at  hand,  and  with  great 
fervency  of  spirit  gave  praise  unto  the  Lord* 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

and  said  unto  the  brother :  "  Forasmuch  as 
that  and  it  please  the  Lord  I  am  so  soon  to 
die,  call  brother  Angelo  and  brother  Leo 
unto  me  that  they  may  sing  to  me  of  Sister 

When  those  two  brethren  had  come  into 
his  presence,  full  of  grief  and  sadness  with 
many  tears  they  chanted  the  "  Song  of  Brother 
Sun  and  of  the  other  creatures  of  the  Lord  " 
that  the  holy  man  had  made.  And  at  that 
time  before  the  last  verse  of  the  canticle  he 
added  certain  verses  as  concerning  Sister 
Death,  saying  : 

Praised  be  Thou,  O  my  Lord  of  Sifter  Death  the 
death  of  the  body,  from  whom  no  man  living  may 
escape,  but  woe  unto  them  that  shall  die  in  deadly  sin, 
and  blessed  be  they  that  shall  walk  according  to  Thy 
most  holy  will,  for  unto  them  shall  the  second  death 
do  no  hurt! 

CXXrW-  How  he  gave  THE     most     holy 

his  blessing  to  the  city  o£  father  being  now 

Assisi  when  he  was  carried  certified   as  well  by 

unto   S.  Mary's  that  he  tne    Holy   Spirit   as 

might  die  there.  by    the    opinion    of 

the  leeches  that  he  was  nigh  unto  death, 
whilst  that  he  was  still  in  the  said  palace,  and 
did  feel  that  he  was  evermore  waxing  worse 
and  that  his  bodily  strength  was  failing,  did 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

make  him  be  borne  in  his  bed  to  S.  Mary  of 
the  Little  Portion,  that  he  might  end  the  life 
of  the  body  there  where  he  had  first  begun  to 
experience  the  light  and  life  of  the  soul. 

But  when  they  that  did  carry  him  had  come 
as  far  as  the  Hospital  that  is  in  the  road  half 
way  betwixt  Assisi  and  S.  Mary's  he  bade  the 
bearers  that  they  should  set  the  bed  on  the 
ground,  and  for  that  by  reason  of  the  long  and 
passing  sore  infirmity  of  his  eyes,  he  could  as 
it  were  no  longer  see  aught,  he  made  the  bed  be 
turned  round  so  as  that  they  might  set  his  face 
toward  the  city  of  Assisi. 

And  lifting  him  up  a  little  in  the  bed,  he 
gave  his  blessing  unto  the  said  city,  saying  : 
"  Lord,  whereas  this  city  of  old  was,  as  I 
believe,  the  place  and  habitation  of  wicked 
men,  so  now  do  I  see  that  by  reason  of  Thine 
abundant  mercy  in  Thine  own  good  time  Thou 
hast  shown  forth  the  multitude  of  Thy  mercies 
therein  above  all  other  cities,  and  by  reason 
of  the  goodness  thereof  alone  hast  chosen  her 
unto  Thyself  to  be  the  place  and  habitation  of 
them  that  in  truth  should  acknowledge  Thee 
and  give  glory  to  Thy  holy  Name,  and  make 
manifest  unto  all  Christian  people  the  sweet 
smell  of  good  report,  holy  life  and  Gospel 
perfection.  Wherefore  I  beseech  Thee,  O 
Lord  Jesus  Christ,  father  of  mercies,  that 
Thou  remember  not  our  ingratitude,  but  ever 

Saint  Francis  of  Assisi 

bear  in  mind  the  abundant  pity  that  Thou 
hast  shown  forth  in  her,  that  she  may  be  for 
ever  the  place  and  habitation  of  them  that  do 
truly  acknowledge  Thee  and  glorify  Thy 
blessed  and  most  glorious  Name  from  ever 
lasting  unto  everlasting.  Amen  !  " 

And  when  he  had  spoken  these  words  he 
was  carried  unto  S.  Mary's,  wherein  in  the 
forty-first  year  of  his  age  and  after  he  had 
fulfilled  twenty  years  of  perfect  repentance,  in 
the  year  of  Our  Lord  1227,  on  the  fourth  of 
the  Nones  of  October,  he  passed  away  unto  the 
Lord  Jesus  Christ  whom  with  all  his  heart 
and  with  all  his  soul  and  with  all  his  strength 
he  loved  with  the  most  ardent  desire  and  with 
the  fullest  affection,  following  Him  most  per 
fectly,  running  after  Him  most  swiftly,  and  in 
the  end  most  gloriously  overtaking  Him  that 
with  the  Father  and  the  Holy  Ghost  ever 
liveth  and  reigneth  from  everlasting  unto 
everlasting  Amen. 

Here  endeth  the  Mirror  of  Perfection  of  a 
brother  Minor  ;  to  wit,  of  the  Blessed  Francis, 
wherein  we  may  most  sufficiently  behold  as  in 
a  glass  the  perfection  of  his  calling  and  pro 

All  praise,  all  glory  be  unto  God  the 
Father  and  unto  the  Son  and  unto  the  Holy 
Ghost.  Honour  and  thanksgiving  unto  the 

Saint  Francis  of  Assist 

most  Blessed  Virgin  Mary  and  unto  Her  holy 
martyr  Kunera  ;  magnificence  and  exaltation 
unto  Her  most  Blessed  servant  Francis. 

'Done  in  the  most  holy  place  of  S.  Mary  of  tht 
Little  Portion,  and  completed  this  fifth  oj 
the  Ides  of  May  in  the  year  of  Our  Lord 



ABSTINENCE,  Francis's  teaching  as  to,  48—50 

Alms,  Francis's  teaching  as  to,  30-35,  37;  holiness  of  the 
bread  of,  42 

Alverna,  Mount,  176,  21 1 

Angelo  Tancredi,  brother,  1155  his  courtesy,  1525  Francis, 
dying,  bids  him  sing  to  him,  222 

Arezzo,  the  leech  of,  219 

Assisi,  house  for  the  brethren  built  by  folk  of,  13  ;  soldiers  of, 
go  to  fetch  Francis,  37  ;  the  bishop  of,  has  no  church  for 
Francis,  85  j  Francis  is  haled  through  the  streets  of,  102; 
dissension  between  Bishop  and  High  Bailiff  of,  l8oj  feud 
between  Perugia  and,  189  ;  the  people  of,  bear  away  the 
body  of  Francis,  197  ;  Francis  sick  to  death  at,  217  j 
Francis  blesses  the  city  of,  223 

BAGNARA,  Francis  ailing  at,  37 

Benedict,  Abbot  of  S.,  gives  a  church  to  Francis,  85 

Bernard,  brother,  his  faith,  152  ;  is  blessed  bv  Franci?,  193  j 

his  sickness,  194  ;  and  death,  195 
Body,  Francis's  teaching  as  to  the  needs  of  the,  171 
Bologna,  house  of  the  brethren  at,  1 3 
Bonaventura,  Doctor,  18 
Bonyzo,  brother,  of  Bologna,  I 

Borgo  San  Sepolcro,  robbers  come  to  the  brethren  of,  nz 
Bovara,  Francis  goes  to  the  deserted  church  at,  98 
Bread  broken  and  given  by  Francis,  159 
Brother  Minor,  Francis's  picture  of  a,  152 
Brothers  Minor,  20;  their  title  revealed  to  Francis,  45  $  their 

salutation,  46 

Brother  Sun,  the  Song  of,  181,  xi  <; 


CANUTES,  Francis  has  them  made  ready  for  his  dying,  203 

Cautery,  Francis  submits  to,  207 

Celano,  a  poor  woman  of,  52 

Chastity,  Francis's  teaching  as  to,  154 

Cheerfulness,  Francis's  love  of,  167-171 

Christ  complains  to  Leo,  81  5  comforts  Francis,  144 

Christmas,  Francis's  reverence  for,  207 

Clara,  desires  to  see  Francis,  195  ;  and  beholds  his  dead  body, 


Clara,  Francis  admonishes  the  Sisters  of  S.,  161 
Cortona,  cell  of,  53 

DAMIAN,  S.,  of  Assisi,  the  poor  sisters  of,  195  5  the  body  of 

Francis  is  borne  to  the  house  of,  197 
Death,  sister,  Francis's  welcome  to,  220 
Devil,  the,  his  presence  in  a  pillow,  173  ;   tempts  Francis  by 

means  of  mice,  176  j  a  brother  tempted  by,  190 
Devils,  Francis  puts  them  to  flight,  98  ;  he  is  beaten  of,  114  j 

they  are  the  Lord's  sergeants,  116,  120-126 
Dominic,  S.,  68  j  girds  on  the  cord  of  Francis,  70 

EGIDIUS,  brother,  joins  the  Religion,  61  j  his  gift  of  contem 
plation,  153 

Eleutherius,  hermitage  of  S.,  28 

Elias,  brother,  vicar  of  Francis,  2  ;  makes  a  house  at  Assisi  for 
the  brethren,  155  is  rebuked  by  Francis,  1 6  ;  Francis 
asks  his  presence,  207  j  he  rebukes  Francis,  218 

Eye-leech,  the,  visits  Francis,  198  ;  and  eats  with  the  brothers 
199  j  he  treats  Francis's  eye  infirmity  by  cautery,  207 

FABIAN,  S.,  the  poor  priest  of  the  church  of,  187 
Fire,  Francis's  appeal  to,  208  j  and  love  of,  209 
Flesh-meats,  Francis  obtains  for  the  sick,  67  j  Francis  performs 

penance  for  having  eaten,  102 
Foligno,  brother  Elias  at,  218 

Fonte  Palumbo,  Francis  at  the  hermitage  of,  118,  198,  207 
Francis  of  Assisi,  his  rules,  I  j  his  decision  as  to  the  possession 
of  books,  3,  6-8,  12  ;  on  the  rule  of  poverty,  6-12,  19, 
&c.  ;  he  would  fain  destroy  the  house  at  Assisi,   14  ;  a 
cell  is  built  for  him,  16  j  he  renounces  the  cell,  17  ;  visits 
Siena,  18  j  on  the  name  of  brothers  Minor,  20  ;  on  deli- 


cate  clothing,  27  j  he  asks  alms,  30  j  his  teaching  re 
garding  alms,  31-35,  37-44  }  is  ill  at  Bagnara,  375  he 
eats  with  a  famishing  brother,  47  j  his  condescension  to 
a  sick  brother,  50  ;  his  gifts  to  the  poor,  52-60,  105,  &c. ; 
he  turns  aside  the  wrath  of  an  injured  man,  54  j  his  in 
firmities,  59  ;  he  rebukes  one  who  misdeemed  of  a  poor 
man,  60  j  makes  a  New  Testament  be  given  to  a  poor 
woman,  64  ;  he  resigns  the  office  of  superior,  65,  125  j 
renounces  honours  for  the  brethren,  69  j  preaches  at 
Rieti,  72  ;  accepts  a  companion  as  warden,  74  ;  his 
teaching  of  perfect  obedience,  76  j  the  church  of  S.  Mary 
of  the  Little  Portion  given  to  him,  85  ;  he  sends  yearly  a 
quit-rent  for  the  church,  87  j  cleanses  the  churches  of 
Assisi,  91  ;  is  helped  by  a  countryman,  92  j  and  accepts 
him  as  his  companion,  95  ;  reproves  brother  James,  96  ; 
and  repents  of  the  reproof,  97,  98  ;  is  tempted  by  devils, 
98  ;  performs  penance  at  Assisi,  102  j  is  minded  to  preach 
in  distant  lands,  107  5  his  care  for  the  Lord's  Body,  109; 
is  forbidden  to  go  to  France,  no  j  teaches  the  brethren 
how  to  deal  with  robbers,  1125  visits  Cardinal  Leo,  114} 
is  heaten  by  devils,  116  ;  returns  to  Fonte  Palumbo,  118  j 
desires  godliness  lather  than  knowledge  fof  the  brethren, 
121-128  ;  his  knights  of  the  Table  Round,  129  ;  his 
zeal  for  the  Rule,  135  ;  commends  the  Religion  of  the 
brothers  Minor  to  the  Roman  Church,  137  ;  obtains  from 
God  favours  for  the  Religion,  138  ;  describes  such  a  man 
as  should  succeed  him,  139  ;  and  what  men  the  com 
panions  should  be,  142  ;  the  Lord  comforts  him  in  his 
grief,  144,  145  j  his  zeal  for  the  place  of  S.  Mary  of  the 
Little  Portion,  147,  &c. ;  he  says  and  teaches  the  Laudes 
Domino,  149  ;  his  zeal  for  the  perfection  of  the  brethren, 
152  ;  his  teaching  as  to  chastity,  154  ;  his  exceeding  in 
firmity,  155-161 ;  his  three  words  to  the  brethren,  157  ; 
gives  bread  to  the  brethren,  159  ;  his  compassion  for  the 
sufferings  of  Chr'jt,  163-1655  he  rebukes  a  sorrowful 
companion,  169  ;  is  tempted  of  the  devil,  173  j  his  re 
lease  from  temptation,  175  j  receives  the  stigmata  on 
Mount  Alverna,  176  :  his  songs  of  praise,  178  5  makes 
peace  between  the  Bishop  and  the  High  Bailiff  of  Assisi, 
1 80  ;  is  aware  of  false  brethren,  183  ;  stays  with  a  poor 
priest  at  Rieti,  187  j  his  preaching  hindered  at  Perugia, 


1 88  ;  he  deals  gently  with  a  tempted  brother,  191  ;  he 
blesses  brother  Bernard,  193  5  he  writes  to  sister  Clara, 
196  j  his  death,  196,  203,  2245  he  foretells  the  honour 
ing  of  his  body,  197  j  makes  welcome  the  eye-leech,  198  j 
is  visited  by  the  Lady  Jaqueline,  201  ;  his  love  of  all 
creatures,  204 ;  how  he  would  have  the  Nativity  ob 
served,  206,  207  ;  the  eye-leech  visits  him,  207  j  his  love 
of  fire,  209-212  j  his  love  of  water  and  wood,  212  ;  his 
song  of  Brother  Sun,  215  j  his  sickness  at  Assisi,  2175 
he  asks  the  leech  of  his  condition,  219  ;  he  blesses  the 
city  of  Assisi,  223  j  he  dies  at  S.  Mary's,  224 
French  songs  made  by  Francis,  165 

GARDEN,  some  of  it  to  be  set  apart  for  flowers,  213 
Garments,  teaching  of  Francis  regarding,  28 
Greccio,  the  hermitage  at,  173 
Gregory  IX.,  Pope,  36 

HONORIUS  III.,  Pope,  i 

Hours,  canonical,  Francis's  observance  of,  166 

Humility,  Francis's  teaching  concerning,  83,  &c. 

IDLE  WORDS,  how  dealt  with,  148 

Idleness,  Francis's  ordinance  against,  147 

Innocent  III.,  Pope,  the  Rules  of  Francis  laid  before,  i,  46 

JAMES  THE  SIMPLE,  brother,  96 

Jaqueline  of  Settesoli,  200  ;    visits  Francis,  201  ;    and  bears 

gifts,  202 
John  the  countryman,  his  help  to  Francis,  92  ;  leaves  his  own 

people,  93  ;    and   follows  Francis,  94  j  he  dies,  and  is 

called  John  the  Saint,  96 
John  Good,  the  leech  of  Arezzo,  219 
John  de  Laudibus,  brother,  his  strength,  153 
Juniper,  brother,  his  patience,  153 

KNOWLEDGE,  Francis's  fear  of,  for  the  brethren,   121,   127. 

LARK,  the  crested,  Francis's  love  for,  204 


Laudes  Domino,  148,  180,  181  j  chanting  of,  to  cheer  the  dying 

Francis,  217 

Layman,  a,  martyred  by  Saracens,  136 
Lent,  S.  Martin's,  103 
Leo,  brother,  of  Assisi,   i  ;  Christ  makes  complaint  to,  81  j 

his  purity,  152  ;  he  chants  the  Song  of  the  Sun  to  Francis, 


Leo,  the  cardinal,  114 
Leper,  Francis  eats  with  a,  97,  98 
Lepers,  behaviour  of  Francis  cowards,  71 
Lodola  Cafel/ata,  204 
Lucca,  son  of  a  nobleman  of,  186 
Lucido,  brother,  his  solicitude,  153 
Lucifer,  his  seat  reserved  for  Francis,  100 

MACHILONI,  a  poor  woman  of,  65 

Masseo,  brother,  his  gracious  aspect,  153 

Mice,  temptation  of  Francis  by  means  of,  176 

Minister  General,  authority   exercised   by,   over  Francis,   57  j 

Peter  of  Catana  appointed  as,  65  ;  S.  Mary  of  the  Little 

Portion  put  under  the  charge  of  the,  89 
Minstrels  of  the  Lord,  179 
Money,  Francis's  execration  of,  26 
Mostacciuoloy  or  marchpane,  Francis's  wish  for,  201 

NATIVITY,  Francis  at  the  feast  of  the,  33  5  how  he  would  have 
it  observed,  206 

OBEDIENCE,  the  perfect  manner  of,  76 

Ostia,  Ugolirio,  Bishop  of,  Legate  in  Lombardy,  13  ;  afterwards 
Pope  Gregory  IX.,  36  ;  Francis  visits  him  and  begs  alms, 
39 ;  he  remonstrates  with  Francis,  40 ;  Francis  and 
Dominic  before  him,  68 ;  he  forbids  Francis  to  leave 
Italy,  noj  Francis  visits  him,  114;  the  brethren  appeal 
to  him,  119  ;  he  admonishes  Francis,  163 

PACIFICO,  brother,  called  King  of  Verse,  98,  178  j  his  vision, 

99  5  is  sent  to  France,  112 
Perugia,  the  soldiers  of,  hinder  the  preaching  of  Francis,  188 

and  are  punished,  190 



Peter  of  Catana,  Minister  General  of  Francis,  63  ;  becomes 
Superior,  65  j  he  hales  Francis  in  penance    by  a  rope, 


Poor  Ladies,  Francis  makes  hymns  for  the,  161 

Poverty,  Rule  of,  6  ;  chosen  by  Francis,  30  j  our  Lady,  128 

Psalter,  desire  of  a  novice  to  possess  a,  tf-ii 

Pyxes,  Francis  provides,  109 

RICHER  or  THE  MARCH,  brother,  4,  29 

Rieti,  Bishop  of,  72  ;  a  poor  priest  of,  187 

Rivo  Torto,  an  idle  brother  at,  43  j  a  dying  brother  at,  47  j 

brother  Egidius  at,  61 

Roaches,  annual  quit-rent  of,  for  the  place  of  S.  Mary,  87 
Robbers,  Francis's  dealings  with  the,  112 
Rocca  Brizzi,  Francis  preaches  at,  62 
Rogero,  brother,  his  charity,  153 
Rufinus,  the  holy,  his  activity,  153 
Rule,  the,  i,  6,  19,  135 

of,  1 1  j  general  chapter  held  annually  at,  13  ;  how  Fran 
cis  would^have  the  houses  of,  built,  23  j  Franc's  sojourns 
a*>  63  ;  given  to  the  brethren  by  the  Abbot  of  S.  Bene 
dict,  85  j  Francis's  zeal  for,  147  j  verses  on,  151: 
Francis  is  sick  at,  200  j  Francis  dies  at,  224 

Salutation  given  by  the  brothers  Minor,  46 

Siena,  Francis  visits,  18,  53  ;  a  doctor  of  theology  of,  82 

Spoleto,  vale  of,  112 

Stigmata  received  by  Francis,  176 

Subasio,  Monte,  85 

TABLE  ROUND,  Francis's  knights  of  the,  129 
Trees  and  stones,  Francis's  love  for,  212 

VINEYARD,  a  poor  priest's,  despoiled,  187 
Virgin,  the   Blessed,  her  love  for  her  church  of  the   Little 
Portion,  88 

WARDEN,  Francis's,  60,  74 



Water,  Francis's  love  for,  212 
Wattles,  chapter  of  the,  119 

[/»  hi*  dates  Brother  Leo  makes  use  of  the  Pisan  style,  lohich  is 
nine  months  and  seven  days  In  advance  of  our  oivn.  All  the 
MSS.  collated  by  M.  Sabatier  agree  in  the  statement  that 
Francis  died  in  his  forty-first  year ;  but  M,  Sabatier  regards 
it  as  established  that  the  saint  ivas  forty-five  at  the  time  of 
his  death.] 



Printed  by  BALLANTYNE    HANSON  <2r*  Co. 
Edinburgh  &*  London 

BX  4700  .F67  E5  1920  SMC 
Mirror  of  perfection.  Engli 
The  mirror  of  perfection